Guildford to take a break

Canterbury Crusaders winger Zac Guildford will take an indefinite break from rugby as he seeks treatment for personal issues.

The 23-year-old is facing misconduct proceedings after a late-night incident in Christchurch earlier in January. It is not the first time he has had off-field issues - in 2011 he was banned for four games and ordered to undergo alcohol counselling after getting into trouble in the Cook Islands.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said Guildford had decided to withdraw indefinitely ahead of the Super 15 season to undergo an intensive treatment programme.

"Zac's withdrawal from the Crusaders means they are able to concentrate on preparing for their 2013 season, and Zac will be free from rugby to concentrate on resolving his personal issues," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.

New Zealand Rugby Players Association chief executive Rob Nichol said Guildford, who has been capped 10 times by the All Blacks, had accepted he faced a major challenge in his life, meaning he had to put his career on hold.

"We have taken the advice of experts and Zac is committed to the plan they have developed," he said.

"It is fundamental that he commits fully to the plan, and sees it through - this means withdrawing from the rugby environment."