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Wainui represented the All Blacks at the Under-20 level and played for Bay of Plenty this year

New Zealand rugby player Sean Wainui has died in a car accident.

Police said the 25-year-old, a former Under-20 international, was killed in a single vehicle crash when his car hit a tree near Tauranga.

Wainui has played 10 times for the Maori All Blacks and made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Waikato Chiefs.

In June, he scored five tries against the NSW Waratahs, setting the record for the most tries by a player in a single Super Rugby match.

He also played for Bay of Plenty in the 2021 provincial rugby season.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said the death of the father of two was “a dark day for rugby”.

“Sean’s passing will be deeply felt by everyone involved in rugby, especially his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs teammates,” he said in a statement.

“We share their pain and their shock.”

Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams paid tribute on social media.

“Although I didn’t play alongside him, I could still feel his mana [stature] running into him as his opposition, “he tweeted.

The Maori All Blacks, Chiefs and former Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan have praised Wainui’s accomplishments.

“He was an influential member in the teams he was a part of and his presence will be missed,” he said.

“He embodied everything you could ask of a player. He will be remembered for being a passionate, hardworking and proud Maori who was an exceptional player but above all a father and husband.”


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