Sam Carter pays tribute to childhood friend Nick Tooth after rugby accident

Sam Carter will never forget the night he walked out of Canberra Stadium and lost one of his best friends.

"We'd just lost to the Rebels and I had 10 or 15 missed calls. It was one of the worst nights of my life," an emotional Carter said.

"Mum called me. It's still tough to talk about. But this weekend, the Toothy Tens, is all about getting a great bunch of people together to celebrate the life of a great bloke."

Tooth was playing for the Quirindi Lions two years ago when he collapsed after a tackle in April 2015. The news travelled quickly to Carter, who had just lost a Super Rugby game against the Melbourne Rebels.

But all of a sudden rugby didn't matter. Carter dropped everything to drive home and was granted leave by the Brumbies to miss a Super Rugby match to attend the funeral.

Tooth, who was 25, was one of Carter's closest friends. The grew up playing sport together, went on annual camping trips with their fathers in the bush and Tooth dropped everything to be at Carter's Wallabies debut in 2014.

Speaking for the first time about Tooth's death, Carter admits it hit him hard. But he said the best way to honour his mate's life was by doing what he loved most.

"I've never seen the church that packed [at Tooth's funeral]. There were people everywhere," Carter said.

"I think if Toothy knew there was a rugby tournament named in his honour, he would be absolutely chuffed.

"It's such a great event that gets played in the best spirits and reminds everyone of the reason they started playing rugby in the first place - for the love of the game.

"It's hard to talk about Nick because he was a close mate and touched a lot of people's lives in so many ways.

"But it's great to see the Tooth family - Grahame, Julie and Alex - organise such a wonderful event that celebrates the life of a great bloke and the game of rugby."

The Tooth family hosted the third Nick Tooth Tens tournament at the Quirindi Rugby Club on Saturday.

Sixteen teams from NSW and Victoria competed and celebrated Tooth's life after his sister, Alex, helped start the even to remember her brother.​

"It was such a shock when it all happened with Nick. When I first heard, I thought, 'this can't be real'," Carter said.

"My heart went out to the Tooth family. It was pretty tough to process all of it.

"You might think about Nick once a day or every time you think about home. But the best thing I could have done was get back out there to play, because that's what Nick would have wanted.

"The last camping trip we did together back home was probably in 2013. It was always the best part of the year.

"There was nothing bad anyone could say about Toothy. It's amazing how many lives he touched in 25 years. This is a chance to remember a great guy."