UNDER-SIEGE All Blacks wing Zac Guildford says he needs to “mentally harden up” in the wake of his bumbling effort during the Tri Nations loss to the Wallabies at the weekend.
The Hawke’s Bay flyer was shaky under the high ball, while he was also not helped by the rushing Australian defence and some tentative passing from his teammates during the 25-20 defeat at the hands of the side's trans-Tasman neighbours.
To his credit, though, Guildford was very much copping his criticism on the chin when he spoke to reporters yesterday in Auckland.
“Obviously I was on the big stage and I didn't perform well," he says.
"I don't think it was anything technical, it was more a mental [thing].”
Guildford, who was pulled after 54 minutes, admits his confidence had taken a major hit during that game.
“I'd be lying if I said it didn't knock my confidence but that's rugby, you have those games sometimes and I just need to learn from it as quick as I can.
"I made a few mistakes early on Saturday night and didn't recover too well from them. I just need to mentally harden up, learn from the mistakes I made out there and move on.
"I'm excited about getting back out on the field and putting the things that went wrong right."
Coach Graham Henry was conciliatory in his tone when asked about Guildford yesterday, but whether he keeps the faith in Guildford for the Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga next Friday remains to be seen.
"There's a huge resource there to support him, but he's got to do the job himself," says Henry.
"He's done the job before and he'll bounce back and overcome that."« Back to Articles
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.