Chiefs, NZ Maori star Sean Wainui dies in car accident

Chiefs and Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui has passed away in a car crash near Tauranga on Monday morning.

The accident happened just before 8am at McLaren Falls Park, with the 25-year-old dying at the scene as the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Wainui joined the Chiefs in 2018 and played 44 games for the Super Rugby franchise, have previously played for the Crusaders.

He was first picked for the Māori All Blacks in 2015 and made 10 appearances for them. He won the Junior World Championship with the New Zealand U20 team in that same year.

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “Sean was an incredibly talented individual and held a great amount of mana among his fellow teammates and the wider rugby community. He epitomised everything you could possibly ask for in a player. He will be remembered for being a passionate, hard-working, proud Māori who was an exceptional player but, more importantly, father and husband.

“He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of, and his presence will be missed. Our sincere condolences to Paige, Kawariki and Arahia and his wider whānau at this difficult time. We are offering them our full support along with our players and staff.”

CEO Mark Robinson has extended all of rugby’s condolences to Wainui’s wife Paige, their children Kawariki and Arahia, and their wider whānau on what is a dark day for rugby.

“Our thoughts are with Sean and his whānau, particularly Paige, Kawariki and Arahia, and we offer them our full support at what is the most difficult of times. We know Sean’s passing will be felt deeply by everyone involved in rugby, particularly his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs teammates, and we share their sorrow and their shock.

“We ask that media give the Wainui whānau space to grieve as we all reflect on a young life that has ended far too early.”

Photo: Getty Images

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