Wainui played 10 games for the Maori All Blacks and made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Chiefs after a spell with the Crusaders; the All Blacks performed a haka in his memory ahead of their test against the United States on Saturday
Last Updated: 26/10/21 6:53am
The death of Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui in a car accident last week is being treated as a “suspected suicide”, authorities in New Zealand said on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old, who played 10 games for the Maori All Blacks and made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Chiefs after a spell with the Crusaders, died in a single-vehicle incident in Omanawa, near Tauranga, on October 18.
Coroner Louella Dunn told the New Zealand Herald that Wainui’s death “was being treated as a suspected suicide”.
Wainui became the first player to score five tries in a Super Rugby match earlier this year against the Waratahs before joining provincial side Bay of Plenty.
The All Blacks performed a haka in his memory ahead of their Test against the United States in Washington on Saturday.
Police said they were notified at 7.50am last Monday that a vehicle had crashed into a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island.
“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,” New Zealand Rugby chief executive 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”.
Maori All Blacks, Chiefs and former Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan added: “He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of and his presence will be missed.
“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.”