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May 25 down the years
South Africa make winning World Cup bow
South Africa's Joel Stransky is congratulated on a try against Australia, South Africa v Australia, 1995 Rugby World Cup, Newlands, South Africa, May 25, 1995
South Africa's Joel Stransky is congratulated on a try against Australia in the opening game of RWC'95 © Getty Images

The third Rugby World Cup opened at Newlands where South Africa, appearing in the tournament for the first time, upstaged the holders, Australia, with a 27-18 victory.

Fly-half Joel Stransky was the star for the hosts notching a try, four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion in front of a capacity 51,000 crowd. Winger Pieter Hendriks grabbed the hosts other try while Phil Kearns and Michael Lynagh dotted down withe Wallabies' fly-half added two penalties and a conversion.

South Africa went on to claim a dream victory in the last major event of the sport's amateur era - beating New Zealand 15-12 after extra time with Stransky again the pivotal figure, kicking the match-winning drop goal.

Leicester became the first side to win back-to-back Heineken Cup Finals with a 15-9 victory over Munster in front of 74,600 fans at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Tries from Geordan Murphy and Austin Healey propelled the Tigers to victory but the final is best remembered for a piece of foul play by Leicester flanker Neil Back.

With his side trailing by six points, Munster scrum-half Peter Stringer prepared to feed a scrum in an excellent attacking position. But Back knocked the ball out of his hands and into the Leicester side in a game-changing act of skulduggery that was missed by all the officials. "On such small matters, games turn; finals are won and lost. It was not Back's finest moment," wrote Eddie Butler in the Observer.

The first ever SANZAR Super 12 Final saw Auckland defeat Natal 45-21 at Eden Park, Auckland.

Tries from Andrew Blowers, Carlos Spencer, Charles Riechelmann, Eroni Clarke, Johnny Ngauamo and Jonah Lomu along with 15 points from the boot of Adrian Cashmore saw the New Zealand side sweep their South Africa rivals aside.

The cross-code challenge ended with honours shared. Bath RFC beat a Wigan RLFC side that included Jason Robinson, Joe Lydon, Andy Farrell and Henry Paul, 44-19 under Union laws at Twickenham.

Rugby league giants Wigan had previously hammed their union counterparts 82-6 under the banner of the 13-man code at Maine Road.

The British touring team left New Zealand on the Zealandia headed for Sydney and the Australian leg of their visit.

The first live television broadcast of a rugby union Test in Australia took place. All three Sydney channels transmitted the All Blacks' 25-11 win against the Wallabies at the SCG.

Don Clarke of New Zealand ran through the card of scoring actions to help the All Blacks to a 21-11 win over an England side playing a Test in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

In their first-ever playing visit to Tasmania, the All Blacks rattled up a 74-0 win in Hobart where flanker Graham Williams scored five tries.

Ian McGeechan was captain for the day as the Lions beat Poverty Bay/East Coast 25-6 at Gisborne. The skipper chipped in with two of the tourists' three tries and fellow Scot Dougie Morgan landed five successful goal kicks.

© Scrum.com
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