Chiefs, Māori All Blacks star dies in car crash

Sean Wainui has died at the age of 25. Photo: Getty Images
Sean Wainui has died at the age of 25. Photo: Getty Images
Chiefs, Bay of Plenty and Māori All Blacks back Sean Wainui has died in a car crash in Omanawa, near Tauranga, this morning.

Bay of Plenty police issued a statement this morning saying one person had died after a single-vehicle crash at McLaren Falls Park.

Police were notified that a car had crashed into a tree at around 7.50am. A family member confirmed to NZME that 25-year-old Wainui was the driver.

He was the sole occupant of the vehicle and died at the scene.

The Serious Crash Unit attended the scene, and enquiries into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing.

Tauranga City Council said in a media statement the park would be closed today due to the crash and emergency services were at the scene.

A St John spokeswoman said two ambulances were called to the scene.

"We know Sean's passing will be felt deeply by everyone involved in rugby, particularly his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs team mates and we share their sorrow and their shock," NZR CEO Mark Robinson said.

He asked the media to give the Wainui family "space to grieve as we all reflect on a young life that has ended far too early".

"He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of and his presence will be missed," Maori All Blacks, Chiefs and former Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan said.

"He epitomised everything you could possibly ask for in a player. He will be remembered for being a passionate, hard-working, proud Maori who was an exceptional player but more importantly father and husband."

Wainui played 53 games for Taranaki before shifting to Bay of Plenty this year. He also played 44 games for the Chiefs, nine for the Crusaders and represented New Zealand Māori since 2015.

In June he scored five tries in a Super Rugby Transtasman victory over the Waratahs, the first player to ever do so in Super Rugby history.

- by NZ Herald/Reuters

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