Toulouse lift inaugural Heineken Cup
Emile N'Tamack lifts the Heineken Cup on this day in 1996
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Toulouse beat Cardiff 21-18 after extra time in front of a Sunday crowd of 21,800 at Cardiff Arms Park in the first-ever Heineken Cup Final. In its inaugural year the tournament featured teams from France, Ireland, Wales, Romania and Italy, with English and Scottish clubs prevented from entering by their respective governing bodies. Toulouse have repeated their victory on two further occasions, in 2003 and 2005 while Cardiff remain the only Welsh side to make a final. Six penalties from Adrian Hadley forced extra time for the home side, although they spurned two chances to score as time ran out. Toulouse scored the only tries, through Jerome Cazalbou and centre Thomas Castagnede, who also slotted a drop-goal, and stole victory with an extra-time penalty from fly-half Christophe Deylaud.
Legendary Ireland fullback and British & Irish Lion Tom Kiernan was born in Cork. He played 54 Tests for Ireland as well going on two Lions tours, once as captain in 1968. As a coach Kiernan also made his mark on the game, leading Munster to their famous victory over the 1978 All Blacks, who racked up a Grand Slam in Tests. Kiernan's side remain the only Irish team to beat the Kiwis.
Billy Bancroft, with the first penalty goal recorded in an international match, gave Wales a last-minute 12-11 victory over England at Cardiff. Bancroft, at fullback, also chipped in with a conversion as legendary centre Arthur Gould crossed for two tries.
The prolific Willie Llewellyn scored four tries on his international debut as Wales hammered England 26-3 at Swansea. Llewellyn was one of seven debutants that wowed a 25,000 crowd at St. Helen's, with Viv Huzzey scoring twice and Billy Bancroft adding four conversions.
The final England trial at Twickenham left the selectors with a mighty headache after the 'Rest' hammer 'England' 20-3. The next day the selectors chose ten new caps and a new captain, Eric Evans (who had led the 'Rest'), for England's upcoming Five Nations opener with Wales.
Debate over allowing substitutes in internationals arose when Scotland's loose forward Charlie Stewart had to retire injured early on in their match against France. Scotland, with only 14 men, were unable to match the French who ran out 11-0 winners in Paris thanks in part to a try from the legendary Guy Boniface.
Kiwi Murray Kidd resigned as Ireland's coach after four successive Test defeats, including a loss to Italy at Lansdowne Road. Kidd succeeded Gerry Murphy in the role but endured an unsuccessful tenure that produced three wins and six losses, being replaced by future England coach Brian Ashton.