Even now Patricio Noriega needs a moment to gather himself before he speaks about what the ACT Brumbies mean to him.
His 1996 teammates recounted to The Canberra Times details of his tearful address to the foundation Brumbies before the first game in the club's history 25 seasons ago.
So after a couple of weeks of around-the-world emails and timezone clashes, Noriega is finally on the other end of the phone from Paris and you can immediately feel what the 1996 Brumbies felt.
"Sorry, mate," Noriega says through a thick Argentinean accent and as his voice begins to quiver. "After family, rugby is everything for me. Every time I speak with someone and think back in time ... about what the Brumbies mean to me, it's impossible to describe.
"Because it completely turned my life upside down. Back in Argentina I was working 12 or 13 hours per day, we didn't have anything to eat as a family.
"My wife Laura and I would maybe have a cup of tea and a piece of bread for dinner at night. Any money we made we made small meals for my three boys. That was a tough situation for us.
"I'm not shy to say that. Sometimes we had one yogurt to share between the three boys for an entire day. That's why the Brumbies are something special to me. They changed the future of my family.
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"I love Argentina and I'm an Argie. That's in my gut, it's who I am and I'm proud of that. But how big were the Brumbies to me? They were everything."
The Super Rugby pause has given the Brumbies a chance to walk down memory lane and relive some of the club's great moments of the past.
The club has launched a social media campaign to vote for the best team in Brumbies history, with position-by-position breakdown discussed every week.
The most-capped Brumby of all time, Ben Alexander, has been doing a podcast series and recounted tales with former skipper Stephen Hoiles last week.
The Brumbies had planned to mark the 25th-year milestone with a function at Manuka Oval and there are plans to start of hall of fame to recognise champion players.
Noriega is Brumby No. 1, but his Super Rugby career almost never was after he twice hung up on coach Rod Macqueen.
"I didn't speak a word of English. Rod Macqueen called after the 1995 World Cup, but I didn't understand. An hour later a friend of his called me from Uruguay," Noriega said.
"He told me Rod Macqueen wanted to chat. I couldn't believe it, so I hung up. Twice. I was working delivering fruit, and I told my wife Laura. She said: 'No! This is your dream.' Eventually it worked out."
Noriega became a dual international, playing 25 Tests for Argentina before adding another 24 for the Wallabies. He was then part of the Wallabies' coaching set up and has been in France for almost 10 years, linking with Racing 92 to teach the dark arts of the scrum.
Racing 92 will welcome Kurtley Beale next season after luring him away from the NSW Waratahs, but Noriega doesn't expect a flood of Australian players given the coronavirus impact on finances.
"There are a lot of changes every season, key players leaving and key players coming," Noriega said of the Top 14 competition in France.
"Australian players are interesting because we know they'll perform and they'll be a huge plus to the group.
"It will be great to work with Kurtley again. I know the X-factor player he is and I'm sure he will raise the standards of our team when he arrives here. I'm looking forward to seeing him in action."