Rugby-Crusaders winger Guildford steps down amid misconduct probe

Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:43am GMT

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Jan 20 (Reuters) - Canterbury Crusaders winger Zac Guildford has voluntarily stood down from the franchise following his involvement in a late-night incident in Christchurch last weekend, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said on Sunday.

The 23-year-old with well-documented alcohol problems has admitted his involvement in the incident after a private house party which is now being investigated by his team and the NZRU.

"We and the Crusaders were very disappointed to learn of this incident. As a result, the NZRU has initiated misconduct proceedings against Zac," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.

"We will be meeting with Zac and his representative in the following week to discuss the matter, and next steps.

"As his employer, we want to ensure that the process respects Zac's right to a fair hearing so we do not wish to comment further at this stage," Tew added.

The 10-test All Black is hardly new to misconduct probes and was banned for four games and ordered to undergo alcohol counselling after a naked, drunken rampage in the Cook Islands in Nov. 2011.

Guildford had previously apologised for his "excessive drinking" and narrowly escaped a playing ban at the 2011 World Cup after an alcohol-related incident prior to the tournament beginning.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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