Irish pay tribute to late Sean Wainui before emotional haka

Source: 1News

Ireland and the Māori All Blacks kicked things off in Hamilton with an emotional gesture of respect for late player Sean Wainui.

Bundee Aki presents a jersey for Sean Wainui.

Wainui, who represented the Māori All Blacks before his death in 2021, was acknowledged by both sides on Wednesday evening before the match kicked off.

Ireland captain Bundee Aki presented an Irish jersey with the number 11 on the back - acknowledging Wainui's position - and laid it down on halfway before the Māori All Blacks performed their haka, Timatanga.

Following the emotional gestures, Wainui's wife and children came on to the field to accept the jersey with the Waikato Stadium crowd supporting them.

The scenes were similar to those made by the Māori All Blacks back in 2016 when they paid respect to Munster's late coach Anthony Foley by laying a jersey with the initials "AF" on the back after his sudden death the month prior.

The USA performed a similar tribute for Wainui as well during last year's end of year tour when they played the All Blacks in what was the first Test for the New Zealand side after his death.

Wainui represented the Chiefs, Bay of Plenty and the Māori All Blacks and had previously played for Taranaki and the Crusaders as well.