All Blacks winger Zac Guildford apologised on Monday for a drunken binge that ended with him staggering naked and bleeding into a bar, and then assaulting two people.
Guildford said he could not clearly recall his night out in the small South Pacific nation of the Cook Islands last Thursday “but there is no doubt that my behaviour was unacceptable and I am hugely embarrassed by what happened”.
“I want to apologise to the people who I was involved with and offended that night, the patrons and staff who witnessed my behaviour, and the Cook Island people,” he said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
“I am truly sorry for what I did.”
The 22-year-old, who has a history of problems with alcohol and was publicly reprimanded by All Blacks management during the recent Rugby World Cup, said he would seek treatment when he returned to New Zealand.
“It’s obvious that I need help and I want to get home and to get that help as soon as I can — I need to sort myself out,” he said.
Guildford did not detail what occurred but Jack Cooper, the owner of the popular Trader Jacks Bar in Rarotonga, said the winger stumbled into the waterfront venue and hit two patrons, one of whom was celebrating his 60th birthday.
“It wasn’t until he was corralled to the stage that he realised he was naked and he started to apologise to everyone,” Cooper told Radio New Zealand.
“I don’t know where he was in his head but certainly he wasn’t on Earth.”
The Herald on Sunday reported Guildford appeared at the bar dripping wet, naked and bleeding from cuts believed to have come from a motorcycle accident earlier in the day.
During the All Blacks’ tournament-winning World Cup campaign, Guildford admitted he had an alcohol problem and said he was taking steps to bring it under control.
After news of Guildford’s latest binge broke on Sunday, the NZRU revealed he had been called before the board three times in the past 18 months.
Guildford’s coach at the Canterbury Crusaders Super 15 team, Todd Blackadder, said the Rarotonga incident had left the player at “rock bottom”.
“I think that up until now Zac’s felt that there hasn’t really been a problem and he’s managed to have it under control but at times like this, he’s probably hit rock bottom,” he told talkback station Radio Sport on Monday. — AFP