Star power for Marist Sevens
Former All Black, Zac Guildford, is in the country and he is set to impress at the 29th Vailima Marist International Sevens, which begins today at Apia Park.
Guildford has had an amazing career playing at the most elite levels of the sport.
Today, however, Guildford will be sporting a blue jersey with the Stallions, who are fresh off a win from the Darwin Sevens.
This is Guildford’s second time in Samoa and he is soaking up the atmosphere.
When the Samoa Observer caught up with Guildford, he just finished attending the ‘ava ceremony hosted by the Marist Sports Committee (read story).
“It’s cool,” he said. “I like the way they do things here. I didn’t really understand what they were saying so I didn’t know what was going on but I thought it was pretty good.”
The superstar winger shared what his life is like now and future ambitions.
“I’m just sort of in between contracts at the moment,” he said.
“I’m sort of in talks with a N.P.C team or whatever they call it now. Just having a look everywhere at the moment and figuring out what I want to do really.”
Asked if he was not interested in turning up for Samoa, he laughed.
“Pretty slim,” he said. “I’ll play sevens here but its not, I guess, professional enough with Samoa to come here and make a wage of it. That’s the hard thing.
“Besides, I don’t have any Samoan in me so I can’t play.”
Guildford is of Maori and Pakeha heritage and grew up in Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
It was there a star was born. He attended the Napier Boys’ High School and came up the ranks through their Rugby Academy Programme.
“I was never the best rugby player growing up but I worked really hard after school. I worked on kicking, passing and tackling and that’s where it got me to where I am today, ” he said.
Guildford was an instrumental player in the U19 and U20 New Zealand rep teams, so much so that Hawke’s Bay offered him a spot in 2007.
At only 18 years old, Guildford was the youngest on the team but that didn’t deter him one bit. He went on to become one of the leading try scorers in 2009 with 13 tries. From there, his career sky rocketed to the highest level of rugby and reached the most coveted spot as an All Black.
In Apia, Guildford said he is looking forward to the next couple of days.
Asked what advice he would give young rugby players, he said:
“Just keep enjoying it and work hard.
“Work hard because I know there is a lot of talented players out there but talent only gets you so far. You still have to put in the extra yards and the stuff away from the training field is really important.”