Rugby: All Blacks pay tribute to Chiefs teammate Sean Wainui, after death in car crash

News of Sean Wainui's death has shocked the All Blacks, as they arrive in the United States for their clash with the Eagles at Washington DC.

The Māori All Blacks and Chiefs utility back was the occupant of a car that crashed into a tree near McLaren Falls Road, on the Kaimai Ranges, shortly before 8am Monday.

Wainui's death has shocked the NZ rugby community, with coach Clayton McMillan remembering him as "a passionate, hard-working, proud Māori, who was an exceptional player - but more importantly - father and husband".

Many of his Chiefs teammates were travelling with the All Blacks when news broke and landed at Dulles International Airport to hear the tragic circumstances.

"Can't quite put into words how much this one hurts," halfback Brad Weber tweets. "Always said publicly that Sean deserves everything he gets, because he works so hard for it, but he doesn't deserve this.

"That first day back at Chiefs HQ next season is going to hurt, walking in and not seeing you there, brother."

Wainui carved his name into Super Rugby folklore, when he became the first player to score five tries in a match, during the Chiefs' 40-7 win over the Waratahs in June.

"The epitome of what it meant to be a Chief!" posts All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown. "A warrior on the field and one of the great humans off it.

"My heart hurts. You'll be missed massively, but never forgotten, my brother."

Fullback Damian McKenzie posts: "Still can't believe it, true legend."

The current All Blacks squad contains several Chiefs players, including Weber, Lienert-Brown, McKenzie, midfielder Quinn Tupaea, loose forwards Sam Cane and Luke Jacobson, locks Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa'i and Josh Lord, and front-rowers Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta'avao and Samisoni Taukei'aho.

Join us at 8:30am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks v USA Eagles clash