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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zac Guildford selected for All Black end of year tour

Zac Guildford selected for All Black end of year tour

As predicted by many, Hawkes Bay flyer Zac Guildford has been selected for the All Blacks for their end of year tour of Japan and Europe.

Guildford, who's just 20, came to prominence in the Junior World Championship, scoring two tries in their 44-28 win over England in the final. The occasion was marred by tragedy though, as Guildford's father, Rob, suffered a heart attack in the stands.

His selection for the All Blacks this week has been reward for his stellar performances in the past few seasons, but he's experiencing mixed emotions as it's so soon after the passing of his biggest fan.

"It's a pretty emotional time because this is the one thing I really wanted to achieve for my dad," Guildford said after learning he had made the All Blacks squad. "Since his passing I've been a lot hungrier and just wanting to do all the right things. He knew it was my dream and I promised him over in Tokyo that I would make the All Blacks," he said.

Few are surprised by Guildfords call up for the tour of Australia, Wales, Italy, England, France, and the Barbarians. He is the Air New Zealand Cup's leading try scorer with 13 and has played a huge part in the Magpies' successful season so far.

New Zealand coach Graeme Henry has likened him to the great John Kirwan.

"What's impressed me about Zac, apart from his ability to score, is he's got a great nose for a try," said Henry. "He reminds me of John Kirwan in many ways. He gets on the shoulders of players and gets that final pass to score. He sniffs out tries very well."

Talking about how his dad would feel when hearing the news of his selection:"Oh, he'd be over the moon. I know that it was his dream for me to make the All Blacks. He didn't do it himself, so I think he'd be really proud," Guildford says.

In a bizarre twist of fate, he could be making his debut in the same place that he won the JWC, but lost his father - Tokyo.

"It'd be a little bit emotional, going back to Japan ... but it's a dream to wear the black jersey for just about any kid in New Zealand, and for it to happen to me, you know, it'd just be a very special occasion," he said.

Guildford's mother is extremely proud of the young man and how he's dealt with it all.

"Rob always knew in his heart that one day Zachary would become an All Black," says Debbie Guildford.

"Zac's a very strong young man and I think it would be in some ways an honour - in memory of his father - to be able to run out there in the black jersey," she said.

Time: 01:39

Posted by Rugbydump at 11:56 pm | View Comments (13)

Viewing 13 comments

Benson October 22, 2009 9:58 pm

Awesome. This guy is pure class. Selected ahead of Rokocoko and Gear too!

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Anonymous October 22, 2009 10:06 pm

good on him wish him the best!

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Toners October 23, 2009 2:13 am

Yeah im jealous!! Good for him!!

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Anonymous October 23, 2009 10:37 am

Really enjoyed the Stand By Me rendition by Ellison! There was not a dry eye in the building after that performance

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Oli October 23, 2009 10:50 am

So kiwis how good is that guy? From France I've really never heard of him!

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Anonymous October 23, 2009 11:37 am

Good on you Guilford .. take this as a grand opportunity to solidify your position in the all blacks...

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Anonymous October 23, 2009 12:18 pm

heart goes out to him, hopes he has a great debut, wish him all the best.

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Anonymous October 23, 2009 3:52 pm

too early for Cruden? would have liked to see his class in the NH.

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J-Rod October 24, 2009 4:03 am

You can already smell the desperation from the All Black camp. They won't win a game.

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Abbyno7 October 24, 2009 2:02 pm

Oli-this guy is potentially world class. He's got the speed and strength in attack. He is also pretty solid in defence. He has a real eye for the line too which is huge at the top level.
I first saw him in 2008 as part of the NZ under-20 side that won in England. I wasn't able to see this year's JWC but whenever i've seen him play in the ANZ Cup this year i've been even more impressed by him.
Good luck to the guy and my heart goes out to him.

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Grayditch October 24, 2009 7:51 pm

some fresh blood.could just be what the all blacks need.

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Oli October 25, 2009 10:49 pm

Thanks Abbyno!

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Ned November 02, 2009 12:29 am

J-Rod said...You can already smell the desperation from the All Black camp. They won't win a game.

It never ceases to amaze me how people are so keen to embarrass themselves on here .. NZ32Aus19 .. a pathetic fall at the first hurdle J-Rod.

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