Rugby-NZ coroner treating Wainui death as 'suspected suicide'

FILE PHOTO: Britain Rugby Union - Harlequins v Maori All Blacks - Harlequins 150th Anniversary Match - Twickenham Stoop - 16/11/16 Maori All Blacks' Sean Wainui scores a try Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic

(Reuters) - The death of Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui in a car accident last week is being treated as a "suspected suicide", authorities in New Zealand said on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old, who played 10 games for the Maori All Blacks and made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Chiefs after a spell with the Crusaders, died in a single-vehicle incident in Omanawa, near Tauranga, on Oct. 18.

Coroner Louella Dunn told the New Zealand Herald that Wainui's death "was being treated as a suspected suicide".

Wainui became the first player to score five tries in a Super Rugby match earlier this year against the Waratahs before joining provincial side Bay of Plenty.

The All Blacks performed a haka in his memory ahead of their test against the United States in Washington on Saturday.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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