Plans are in place to keep Zac Guildford on the straight and narrow as the NSW Waratahs’ one-time loose cannon battles a depressing foot injury.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has revealed he’d already planned to drop Guildford for Saturday’s Super Rugby showdown with the Brumbies before the former All Black broke his toe on Tuesday at training.
Gibson handed Guildford a lifeline by offering his New Zealand countryman a Waratahs contract for 2016 after the winger had seemingly burned his bridges in professional rugby after a protracted battle with alcoholism.
But after a promising start to his Waratahs career, the 27-year-old has hit a crossroad.
Injured and struggling for form, Guildford has been given the rest of this week off to get his head right.
“Obviously, the care around him is pretty extensive,” Gibson said.
“We’ve done a number of things and he’s actively working on that and, again, these are the setbacks and so forth that you have to cope with as a rugby player.
“He’s no different.”
Guildford was hurt in the Waratahs’ last-up loss a fortnight ago to the Melbourne Rebels.
“We tried to run him over the last week. Ran him again on Tuesday, made it worse and so obviously he’s going to be out for a while,” Gibson said.
“He’s got a fractured little toe and that hasn’t healed.
“He’s pretty down about that … so I’ve given him some time off.
“He’ll be back on Monday.”
Whether he can force his way back into the Waratahs’ starting line-up is anyone’s guess.
“He was very disappointed with his game against the Rebels, like a number of guys, so he would have missed selection this week. I was very clear to him around that,” Gibson said.
“He’s going to have to earn his way back, just like everyone else.”
The Waratahs’ other prized off-season recruit from New Zealand is also seemingly out of favour, with prop Angus Taavao consigned to the bench for the Brumbies clash.
But Gibson insists Taavao has “not been dropped”, merely given a different role as an impact player while rookie Tom Robertson deservedly earns a start.
Gibson says the plight of Guildford and Taavao is “just par for the course that they adjust to the different style of play that we play over here”.
“I still have every confidence that they can adjust,” the coach said.