Brumbies backrower Pete Samu couldn't help but be preoccupied with thoughts of his second home on Friday after devastating attacks in Christchurch.
Samu played for the Crusaders and lived in Christchurch for four seasons before joining the Brumbies and still counts his former teammates as some of his closest mates.
Watching the news unfold on Friday, the flanker couldn't help but feel sadness for the city that has endured so much in the past decade, weathering multiple natural disasters before this latest tragedy.
"My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch," he said after Friday night's Brumbies-Waratahs win.
"For it to happen in a city like that or anywhere for that matter, it's just sad to see," he said.
"It's nothing that the people of Christchurch can't handle. They've had earthquakes and whatnot, I know they'll pull through but it's very saddening.
Samu said he had been in touch with family members and friends through the day and said he couldn't help but be affected by the news given his close association to the city.
"That was pretty much my second home really, made a lot of great friends there and just to see that happen to a city that's still rebuilding from disasters and for that to happen (is sad)," he said.
Samu said news that those close to him, with many of his former teammates in Dunedin ahead of their scheduled match against the Highlanders, were safe gave him a sense of relief ahead of Friday night's game.
That Highlanders-Crusaders match, scheduled for Saturday evening, has since been cancelled in the wake of the attacks.
"It was worrying," Samu said.
"I was texting with them this afternoon before the game and they're all good, so that took a bit of weight off my shoulders and took my focus onto the game."
The Crusaders will be in Australia next week, taking on the Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday night, while the Brumbies take on the Reds on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.