Chiefs Super Rugby star Sean Wainui dies in car crash
WELLINGTON, New Zealand
Sean Wainui, a rising Super Rugby star with the Hamilton Chiefs, died in a car crash on Monday. He was 25 years old and the father of two children.
His death was confirmed by members of his family and by New Zealand Rugby who said that “one of New Zealand Rugby’s largest Totara trees has fallen”.
Wainui has played 44 games for the Chiefs as of 2018. He has also played nine times for the Christchurch Crusaders and was a Maori representative for New Zealand from 2015.
Wainui scored five tries for the Chiefs against the New South Wales Waratahs in June, a Super Rugby record.
Police said they were told at 7:50 a.m. that a vehicle had crashed into a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island.
Wainui was the sole occupant.
“To you Sean, our Rangatira (leader), we bid you farewell to the outstretched arms of the multitudes that await you beyond this earthly realm,” New Zealand Rugby said in a statement. “You leave us here helpless and (to) drown in grief as we mourn for you. “
General Manager Mark Robinson sent New Zealand Rugby’s condolences to Wainui’s wife, Paige, and her family.
“Our hearts go out to Sean and his whanau (family), especially Paige, Kawariki and Arahia, and we offer them our full support,” said Robinson. “We know that Sean’s passing will be deeply felt by all involved in rugby, especially his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs teammates, and we share their pain and shock.”