All Blacks Rugby World Cup winning winger Zac Guildford has been accused of staggering naked, drunk and bleeding into a bar where he allegedly assaulted two people.
The incident happened in the small South Pacific nation of the Cook Islands on Thursday night according to a report in the Herald on Sunday newspaper, quoting witnesses.
Guildford, who has a history of problems with alcohol and was publicly reprimanded by the All Blacks management during the recent Rugby World Cup, is in the Cook Islands to attend a friend’s wedding.
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said news of his latest outburst was disappointing and its focus was on helping the player rather than disciplining him.
According to witnesses, he appeared at Trader Jacks Bar and Grill dripping wet, naked and with a gash on his forehead believed to have come from a motorcycle accident earlier in the day.
He then allegedly punched one man who asked if he needed help and then hit another man across the back of the head.
A staff member at the bar confirmed that reports of Guildford “walking into the bar naked, bleeding and assaulting at least one person”, were true but she would not comment further.
Guildford’s mother told the Dominion Post she was aware of the incident but was also not commenting.
The Herald on Sunday said patrons in the bar described Guildford’s behaviour as appalling and a New Zealand woman, identified only as Fiona, said he was extremely drunk.
“His eyes were gone, he was completely out of it,” she said, adding that after the All Black hit her 60-year-old friend, he jumped on to a stage where “he seemed to realise he was naked” and tried to cover himself.
Restaurant staff then rushed to wrap an apron round Guildford’s waist as he bolted into the kitchen.
During the World Cup, the 22-year-old Guildford admitted he had an alcohol problem and said he was taking steps to bring it under control.
NZRU general manager Neil Sorensen told journalists Guildford had been called before the board three times in the past 18 months and they were now trying to establish what happened in the Cook Islands.
“Our first move is to really say ‘how can we help this guy’, that’s the first thing. But we’ve got to establish the facts and it sounds like he got up to something. We are not denying that,” Sorensen said.
Although Guildford was officially on leave, Sorensen said the NZRU still expected players to behave responsibly.
“We go out of our way to help, but at some stage people need to stand up for themselves and make some tough calls.”