Zac Guildford’s pointed views on the state of professional rugby have been swatted aside by the NZRU who appear reticent about engaging on the issue.
Guildford, currently holidaying in Fiji in the international fixture window, told the newspaper the Samoa Observer that rugby was “all about the money” and he lamented the lack of inclusion of the Pacific
“It’s quite sad that we have to bring France over for three weeks in the middle of our toughest domestic competition to make money,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s benefiting a lot of players in many ways but like I said, it’s a business these days.”
Approached for comment, the NZRFU released a one-line statement this afternoon attributed to General Manager for Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen.
“We see no point in debating the issue given our position on this, and the factors influencing international fixtures, is well known.”
The statement said Sorensen would not be available for any further comment.
It remains to be seen if Guildford will face any sanctions over his comments though it can not help his already fractious relationship with the union.
Guildford hit the headlines in November 2011 when he was involved in a drunken incident in the Cook Islands, storming naked into Trader Jacks bar and assaulting customers.
NZRU staff flew out to bring him home, suspending the winger and managing the PR damage.
He was given another chance earlier this year after a late-night fracas at a Christchurch party, and admitted in March that he is an alcoholic.
Among his comments to the Samoa Observer he was critical of the international window breaking up the Super 15 competition.
The break was “a cash ploy so New Zealand rugby can make money”.
“You’ve seen the rugby nowadays, it’s more about money and less about the actual competition”.
He said All Black team-mates believed the NZRU should do more to help its Pacific neighbours.
“Unfortunately, the Pacific Islands don’t have that money so they’re being overlooked by the New Zealand Rugby Union, which is a bit sad.”
Guildford said he was trying to return to the All Blacks but was also considering his options in Europe.
“It’s something I’m definitely looking at, not just for the money but for different lifestyle experience.
“I want to experience different cultures but also to freshen up on my rugby too.”
– Fairfax NZ News