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Māori All Blacks and Chiefs rugby player dies in car crash

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Māori All Blacks and Chiefs player Sean Wainui has died in a car accident in New Zealand, aged 25.

The single-vehicle accident occurred on Monday morning in Omanawa, near Tauranga in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty region.

Wainui was the sole occupant of the car.

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He played 10 matches for the Māori All Blacks and made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Chiefs after a spell with the Crusaders.

“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,” New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said in a statement.

Wainui — who played on the wing and in the centres — joined the Chiefs in 2018. He was a hugely popular figure with the fans.

He scored a record five tries for the Chiefs against the NSW Waratahs in the Super Rugby trans-Tasman tournament earlier this year.

Wainui was playing with Bay of Plenty in New Zealand’s national provincial competition this season.

“He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of and his presence will be missed,” Māori All Blacks 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 Māori who was an exceptional player but more importantly father and husband.”

Reuters/ABC

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