Folau Fainga'a's mind was racing as he tipped his room upside down looking for his passport.
Losing that would have made for a heck of a way for Fainga'a to miss out on his 50th Super Rugby cap for the ACT Brumbies in Christchurch this Saturday.
"The passport was a bit of a nervous one. I forgot I gave it to Swainy [Brumbies operations manager Bill Swain] a while ago," Fainga'a said.
Not so long ago passports were all but glued to a Super Rugby player's kit bag. Trips to New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan were par for the course.
The the COVID-19 pandemic derailed Super Rugby as we knew it and forced rugby officials to map out a path to a solid future as the code's bottom line took a major hit.
MORE RUGBY UNION
Two seasons of domestic competitions in Australia and New Zealand followed, but now they finally join forces again for the first edition of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
Brumbies hooker Fainga'a and inside centre Irae Simone will notch up a half-century of appearances when their side faces the Canterbury Crusaders at Christchurch Stadium in round one.
It marks another chapter in a whirlwind ride for the 26-year-old who went from labouring on job sites and working as a garbage man in Sydney's west for a bit of cash to realising a rugby dream in late 2017.
"I was still young and to move away from my whole family and try chasing my dream, it was big," Fainga'a said.
"I look back at it now and how far I've come in my rugby career, I'm pretty young as well, 50 games is a massive achievement for myself. I never really thought I'd hit this milestone.
"It's pretty crazy hey, I never thought I would play 50 games for the Brumbies'. I'm excited, what a game to play it, a game against the Crusaders.
"Scotty [Sio] said it after training the other day. We don't have to wait four or five weeks to challenge ourselves against the best, we've got them right off the cuff. If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best."
Not only have playmakers and hookers had to contend with a new opposition this week, they've had to wrap their heads around playing with a new brand of footballs.
Games in Australia will use Gilbert-branded balls seen in Super Rugby AU, while games across the ditch will use an Adidas ball as seen in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Adidas balls are said to be better to kick and pass, but the Brumbies hooker's verdict as far as lineouts are concerned?
"I'm pretty sure those balls are made for kicking, not for throwing," Fainga'a mused.
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN ROUND ONE
Saturday: Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch Stadium, 5.05pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Hooper, 20. Luke Reimer, 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Mack Hansen
Canterbury Crusaders squad: 1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor (c), 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4. Mitchell Dunshea, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Ethan Blackadder, 7. Tom Sanders, 8. Cullen Grace, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 11. Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12. David Havili, 13. Braydon Ennor, 14. Manasa Mataele, 15. George Bridge. Replacements: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17. Tamaiti Williams, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Brendon O'Connor, 21. Ere Enari, 22. Fergus Burke, 23. Sevu Reece
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