The shortness of breath was the first giveaway. Henry Speight, the former ACT Brumbies cult hero known for his speed and power, was all of a sudden gasping for air at the top of the stairs.
He expected the call confirming he had tested positive to COVID-19. He wasn't prepared for the "guilt" he felt when he looked into the rear-view mirror of the car to see the big brown eyes of his 14-month-old son staring back at him.
"Finding out you've given coronavirus to your son is scary," Speight told The Canberra Times from France this week.
"Me and my partner are fit and healthy. Our bodies can cope with it. But Josefa's pretty helpless. He can't tell you how he's feeling. He struggles to breathe at night.
"That's what worried me the most ... when I got the call to tell me [I was positive], my family was in the car with me. I was putting them at risk."
Speight and his family are in isolation in Biarritz, about 35 kilometres from the Spanish border, as France experiences an explosion of coronavirus cases. On one day this week the country reported more than 15,500 new cases, prompting President Emmanuel Macron to announce new lockdown measures on Thursday morning.
"[France is being] overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first," Mr Macron said. "The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated."
People will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons after France reported 522 new virus-related deaths in hospitals in the past 24 hours.
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It was a sobering reminder for the usually bubbly fan favourite Speight, who has been racked with worry for his son after up to 30 Biarritz players and staff contracted the virus.
Games have been canceled and squad members are isolating as they wait for details about the competitions' next move. Speight, partner Louise, and son Josefa had only just moved to the south of France to start a three-year contract in Europe.
But two phone calls changed their outlook. The first confirmed Speight had the virus, and he immediately went into home quarantine and isolated from Louise and Josefa. Josefa's diagnosis came two days later.
"We played out every scenario when we left Australia during a pandemic, but none of those scenarios included us having COVID," Speight said.
"It throws you a fair bit. Maybe this will be a cool story when Josefa grows up ... but to think that I was putting my family at risk, that was the scariest thing. Knowing I could be exposing my son to this made me feel guilty.
"When you get the news you have it you think: 'holy shit, COVID'. Then you find out the little one has it, that's the worst. You worry about his immune system and whether he can cope, that's scary.
"There have been a few nervous nights. Josefa struggles the most in the evenings, he struggles to breathe at night. He wakes himself up because he stops breathing and he starts crying. That's not a good situation for your son or your family."
Speight, dubbed the 'bro with the fro" during his 122 games for the Brumbies, left Canberra at the start of the year to move to Queensland.
He still manages to laugh about the situation. "Lou has been putting things I don't like eating like ginger [and] celery into our meals because I've completely lost sense of taste and smell," he said.
"Walking up the stairs gets me blowing like the first day at training after a Christmas break in Fiji."
The Fijian-born flyer played 19 Tests for the Wallabies, but signed a deal with Biarritz in June to follow a well-worn path for Australian players lured abroad by lucrative European offers.
At 32, Speight still has plenty to offer the French competition and Biarritz as a try-scoring winger with a beaming smile and gentle nature.
But it's unclear if he will get to play in the near future. He is waiting for blood test results this weekend, but competitions may be put on hold as French health officials attempt to slow the spread. Strict controls are on people leaving their homes, while social gatherings are banned until at least December 1.
Rugby players across several teams have tested positive to coronavirus, which is in stark contrast to sporting codes in Australia being able to complete their seasons without a positive case.
Speight added: "I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here. The only time I wished my family was back at home, that Josefa and Lou were safe, was when Josefa got sick.