The rugby community is in mourning after the passing of Chiefs and Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui just before 8:00 AM Monday morning. Wainui, 25, died at the scene of a single vehicle crash near Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand. He is survived by his wife and two-year old son.
The Chiefs have led the way with their outpouring of support, releasing the following tribute in honour of Wainui:
One of Rugby NZ’s tallest totara trees has fallen. To you Sean, our Rangatira, we farewell you to the outspread arms of the multitudes who await you beyond this earthly realm. You leave us here bereft and drown in sorrow as we weep for you. Rest well in peaceful repose. ❤️💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/ZhiCJ28OU1
— Gallagher Chiefs (@ChiefsRugby) October 18, 2021
Wainui had represented the Māori All Blacks 10 times. Last June, he became the first player in Super Rugby history to score five tries in a single match.
Chiefs and Māori All Blacks coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sean was an incredibly talented individual and held a great amount of mana among his fellow teammates and the wider rugby community.
“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.
“He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of, and his presence will be missed.”
We are deeply saddened to hear news of the passing of Sean Wainui 💔
Crusader #189, Sean will forever be a cherished member of our club.
Our hearts go out to Sean’s whānau, friends, and all those in the rugby community who knew him. pic.twitter.com/6uryvgv5EA
— Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) October 18, 2021
Our deepest condolences to Sean’s wife & children, his whānau, his teammates and all those lucky enough to have known Sean Wainui.
We are honoured to have shared the field with you. A fierce and skilled warrior, we mourn your loss. 💔
E moe, e moe, okioki ai 🕊 pic.twitter.com/lP9uHnqhcSADVERTISEMENT
— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) October 18, 2021
My thoughts are with Sean Wainuis’ family. Especially his wife & young child. Although I didn’t play alongside him, I could always feel his mana coming up against him as his opposition. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) October 18, 2021
🏉 Bay of Plenty
🏉 Maori All Blacks
A potential that was just beginning to be scratched. An outside back built like few others. A man loved by those around him. ❤️🇳🇿
— Rugby on Nine (@RugbyOnNine) October 18, 2021
Don’t know how I missed this. This made my day. Teach them young. pic.twitter.com/67HL7HdfcQ
— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) June 27, 2020
No doubt the tributes will continue to pour in as the story unfolds.
Our thoughts go out to his family in their time of loss. May he rest in peace.