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Guildford heads to France

Saturday, January 11, 2014

WELLINGTON - Former All Blacks winger Zac Guildford has signed a two-year deal with an option for a third with Top 14 leaders Clermont, the French club confirmed on Thursday.

Guildford, who is in his prime at 24 but has struggled with alcohol problems, will move to France after this year's Super Rugby season.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to enrich our team with a player of such talent and versatility," Clermont backs coach Franck Azema said.

"Like all the All Blacks we have in our ranks, we believe that he will bring us a bit of his culture, his feel for the movement of the game, which we want to continue to develop.

"Everyone knows his ability, technique, speed or the explosiveness that he can bring to the attacking line and we're really happy to offer him a new challenge and a first experience in France."

Guildford becomes Clermont's fifth recruit for next season after forward Sebastien Vahaamahina, centre Jonathan Davies, Australian hooker John Ulugia and No.8 Fritz Lee.

New Zealand has a policy of not selecting foreign-based players for the All Blacks, meaning the switch could effectively end Guildford's international career.

He played the last of his 10 Tests for New Zealand in mid-2012.

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