Not many people are familiar with the town of Quirindi, population approximately 2,500.
In the North West Slopes region of New South Wales, it's a farming town approximately 70km from Tamworth that is the birthplace of Liberal Party founding member, the late Sir John Cramer.
Travelling through there on my way to watch the NSW Country Eagles take on the Perth Spirit in last year's National Rugby Championship (NRC), I found a cracking bakery and a friendly publican happy to lend his bathroom to a bloke who had no interest in buying a beer, but it's certainly not a place famous for churning out professional athletes.
Enter Sam Carter, who this week will become the 54th player to reach 100 Super Rugby caps for Australian teams, and who according to long-time teammate and friend Ben Alexander is the exact knockabout kind of bloke you would expect to hail from a town like this. No ripped jeans or high-tops in the Carter wardrobe - just good old fashioned country kit
"He loves his R.M. Williams, but most of all he is actually famous for having the worst underpants in the team," fellow Centurion Alexander tells RUPA.
"Him and another second rower, (former Brumby) Leon Power. Carts has this old pair of blue Bonds undies with more holes than swiss cheese. He used to wear them in games and they were disgusting.
"And he’s got a massive ass! Michael Hooper nicknamed him the nashi pear, because of his body shape; small shoulders and a fat ass!"
With friends like these, who needs enemies right? Well wrong, because aside from making me promise to write about the size of Carter's posterior, it's clear that Alexander is extraordinary proud of his great mate and his wonderful achievement.
"It’ll be very special to see him reach the 100 on Saturday night against the Brumbies," Alexander says. "I would’ve played most of those games with big Carts.
"Whenever anybody at the Brumbies achieves a significant milestone, they don't want to make a big deal out of it and Carts is no different. He'll just want to focus on doing his job.
"But as a team mate, to see somebody achieve that milestone means a lot. It makes us want to go out there and do the job for Carts, to make his big milestone a memorable performance to allows him to celebrate the many, many years of hard work and service he has put into this Club. We’ve got to go out and do our part of the bargain for him so when looks back on his career hell look back on his 100th and have a smile."
Alexander still remembers when Carter first arrived at the Club in 2011, and while it's easy to say now he always believed his teammate was destined to achieve great things.
"I still remember just watching him and Scott Fardy and the way that they went about it in that first pre-season. 'Fards' was a bit older, but Carts was getting his first chance in a professional program and they just trained so hard in the gym and with their fitness. He earned his spot in the team, and then helped us get to a Grand Final in 2013 and the part that he played in that season showed he was destined for a successful career."
Carter was named Captain of the Brumbies in 2017 for the first time, in a dual role alongside Christian Leali'ifano, however with Christian unable to play due to illness it was up to Sam to lead the way on the field. It's a job that Alexander said he relished and excelled at, despite the challenging circumstances, so it should come as no surprise that he will again skipper the side this weekend.
"We had such an experienced leader with us prior to 2017 in Stephen Moore, and then Sam really had to step up when Christian became ill. It was a big learning experience for him, but he is a heads down and (massive) bum up kind of guy.
"He always get his work done, he leads by example and by always putting his body on the line. He is definitely blossoming as a leader and growing as anyone would into that role, and he leads by actions moreso than just words.
"When you look at the quality of locks that we have at the Brumbies, I think a lot of it is because of Carts and the leadership he is showing the second rowers. Our lineouts have been excellent for years now, and a lot of that is honestly because of the way he runs them. We’ve got quality locks here at the Brums, and Carts' mentorship of them is one of the key reasons why. And he's still young with a massive future ahead of him, he's hungry for work and he's always trying to get better."
Off the pitch, Alexander describes a mate who is pretty relaxed and easygoing, and speaks about how much he is looking forward to his first trip to Quirindi later this year.
"He is lucky he is a good footballer because he is as bad a golfer as I am, even though he got a gig for an episode on the Fox Sports Golf Show; he would have re-watched that episode a lot! He played for Sydney Uni, but he keeps that pretty quiet, and he's studying as well. He loves a cold beer after a game, he's definitely someone who works hard and then when it's time to put the feet up he loves to relax.
"I haven't been to Quirindi yet, but I'll get to go in November or December, whenever his wedding is to young Madeline; that'll be a good celebration.
"He is a pretty stereotypical bloke from the country. Easygoing, hard working, just a good honest bloke that is always great to catch up with.
"His Dad always knows when the Brumbies have a bye week... 'Big Dave' gives him a call and asks him to come back and give him a hand. When we all go on holidays or go travelling, Carts usually heads back to Quirindi to help his old man on the farm. I think they're just watering the money trees, counting the leaves, that sort of thing!"
Any final thoughts?
"Just make sure you mention his huge ass."
Job done.... congratulations Carts on a brilliant achievement!
One thing that is famous in Quirindi is the Nick Tooth Memorial Rugby Tens tournament, named in honour of one of Sam's good mates who passed away in 2015. To find out how you can get involved in playing or supporting the event, click here.
Sam Carter Fact File:
Born: Sydney, 10th September 1989
Super Rugby Caps: 99 Caps (8 tries)
Wallaby Caps: 16 Caps
NRC Caps: 11 Caps (2 tries) (2 NSW Country Eagles, 9 Canberra Vikings)