NSW Waratahs sign NZ winger Zac Guildford

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Former All Black Zac Guildford has signed with the Waratahs for the 2016 season.

Guldford comes to the Waratahs after cutting short a two-year stint with French club, Clermont Auvergne for due to homesickness.

The 26-year-old has a mixed reputation off the field after a handful of police incidents in 2011, Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he was confident Guildford’s recruitment was not a risky one.

“I’ve spoken with Zac extensively and he is prepared to earn the respect of his teammates through his actions, and to uphold the values of our club,” he said.

“He’s probably been carrying that ‘bad-boy’ baggage around with him for the past few years, and from my observations he has moved past it and grown up a bit.

“His challenge will be to demonstrate he can make good choices and prove that.

Gibson admitted the risk was on both sides of the equation when it came to signing him.

“Of course his signature comes with risks for both parties, but we strongly believe in his ability and will support him with his efforts to continue his rugby career, he’s highly motivated and aspirational about his career – so our challenge will be to get the best out of him."

Guildford will act as a short-term solution to the club’s backs drain, with Adam Ashley-Cooper (Bordeaux-Bergles), Taleqe Naiyaravoro (Glasgow) and Peter Betham (Leicester) all leaving for Europe.

The Waratahs will be Guildford’s third Super Rugby club, after he previously played for the Hurricanes and the Crusaders.

The New Zealand winger has played 11 Tests for the All Blacks, including the winning 2011 World Cup side.

Guildford will come across the Tasman after his ITM Cup season with the Hawke's Bay Magpies ends.