The All Blacks have gathered to toast Sean Wainui's memory and will give players the option of sitting out this weekend's test against the USA if they are too overcome with grief following his death.
Several members of the All Blacks squad in Washington DC were closely connected to Wainui, who died in a single-vehicle crash around 7.50am at McLaren Falls Park, near Tauranga, on Monday.
The 25-year-old, survived by wife Paige and their children Kawariki and Arahia, was an infectious character who through his time at the Chiefs, Crusaders, New Zealand Māori, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty shone a light on being comfortable in your own skin by promoting Māori culture.
The wider New Zealand rugby community continues to mourn his loss, as do the All Blacks on the other side of the world.
Raw emotions were evident on Tuesday when senior All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor broke down in tears while discussing Wainui's death.
One day later, All Blacks forwards coach John Plumtree spoke of the tributes the team paid Wainui as they attempt to prepare for their test against the USA at FedEx Field, home of the Washington NFL team in Maryland, on Sunday morning (NZT).
"The passing of Sean Wainui has been really hard on the team," Plumtree said. "The Chiefs boys organised a little drink in the team room for anyone that wanted to join them in remembrance of him.
"Everyone came. They told some personal stories about what a fantastic person Sean is to them. There were some really beautiful moments. It was a special time for us as a team and for the Chiefs and Crusaders boys who knew him best."
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Plumtree admitted many players – the All Blacks squad features 11 Chiefs - will find it difficult to set aside emotions and concentrate on this weekend's match.
All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka has been put forward to help players most affected.
"We have acknowledged the fact it's not over yet for some people and it is a long week but we do have a test match to prepare for as well," Plumtree said.
"There's some more things put in place for those individuals. We've encouraged everyone to be open and talk about Sean with somebody. Being vulnerable now is really important. They've all been fantastic in that space."
Any player that finds they are not in the right headspace to play this weekend will be given the chance to sit out the test against USA. No one, as yet, has expressed that desire.
"If there was someone that couldn't play, because mentally it was just too tough, then absolutely. I don't think you'll find that. I think you'll find Sean would have wanted all those boys to be available for this test match. I'll be surprised if one of them didn't want to play."
The Chiefs franchise established a Givealittle page for Wainui, with all funds going to his whānau in their time of need. The page had raised close to $100,000 on Wednesday afternoon.