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Zac has 'come a long way' - Israel Dagg

Published: 6:09PM Monday March 18, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Israel Dagg is getting behind his close mate Zac Guildford as he tries to revive his rugby career after it was nearly derailed by his alcoholism.

Guildford was handed a lifeline by the NZRU last week, when they decided not to rip up his contract over his latest drinking-related incident.

The Crusaders star returned to Christchurch last week to train with the team and Dagg has been quick to take his Hawke's Bay sidekick under his wing.

"It's awesome to have my mate back and he's come a long way," Dagg told ONE News today.

"I can definitely see the changes in him and he's really excited, he's training hard and just wants to get out there and I'm just trying to support him and be there any way I can."

Away from the training ground, Dagg says he's been doing his best to look after Guildford, keeping him occupied and out of trouble.

"I'm just doing things with him you know, playing golf and just keeping him busy and just really being a mate.

"Mates have got his back and are always by his side through thick and thin so I'm just being there but he's fine, he's got a few tools up his sleeve to help him.

"He just went away to a place and figured a few things about himself that he didn't know and he's come back a whole new man."

Guildford's return may have even boosted Dagg's on-field performance as he was influential in the Crusaders' win over the Bulls in Chistchurch.

Crusaders assistant coach Aaron Mauger said his return had been a boost to the whole team after a rough start to the season.

"We had a great build up last week and then Zac came back in on Friday and just capped it off really, he spoke really well to the boys, probably inspired a few of them," Mauger said.

"He got up and was really honest with the players and I think they respected that and it's great to have him back in the mix."

As for when Guildford himself might take the field, Mauger suggested that the wait might not be too long.

"He looks like he's in pretty good nick so I don't think it'll take him too long to get up to speed."

Guildford is set to be considered for selection for Saturday night's match against the Kings.

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