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May 3 down the years
Tigers make Heineken Cup history
Leicester's Scott Hamilton congratulates team mate Jordan Crane after he kicked the match-winning place kick while Cardiff Blues' Martyn Williams reflects on his missed kick, Cardiff Blues v Leicester Tigers, Heineken Cup Semi-Final, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, May 3, 2009
Delight for Leicester Scott Hamilton and Jordan Crane - despair for Cardiff Blues' Martyn Williams following their dramatic penalty shoot-out at the Millennium Stadium. © Getty Images
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Leicester Tigers book a Heineken Cup final date with Leinster after beating Cardiff Blues 7-6 in an historic sudden death penalty shoot-out at the Millennium Stadium.

No.8 Jordan Crane kicked the all-important place kick for the Tigers after the Blues had fought back bravely to level the match at 26-26 and take the contest into extra time. However, the dramatic shoot-out, the first of its kind in the tournament's 14-year history, was an ill-fitting climax to a match that enthralled from start to finish.

Leicester appeared to be in control of the clash early in the second half thanks to tries from winger Scott Hamilton and fullback Geordan Murphy but two tries in the last six minutes from centre Jamie Roberts and winger Tom James and two superb conversions from fullback Ben Blair gave the Blues a lifeline.

With neither side able to break the deadlock in extra time the match would be decided by the kicking prowess of the respective teams. Leicester's Johne Murphy missed his kick from the 22 metre line to give James the chance to win it for the Blues but he also failed to hit the target and as a result the duel went into sudden-death.

The final twist in the tale saw the Blues' Martyn Williams pull his effort wide of the posts before Crane stepped up to slot the match-winning kick and set the seal on the most dramatic match in Heineken Cup history.

Wales and Scotland were rebuked for their part in the so-called "grannygate" scandals that led to ineligible players turning out for them in the Six Nations. A three-man International Rugby Board judicial panel heard the WRU admit a charge of fielding ineligible players at Test match level and as a result New Zealand-born pair Shane Howarth and Brett Sinkinson had their international careers put on hold. They were ordered to serve the three-year residential qualification in order to resume playing Test match rugby, although Howarth never played for Wales again.

The players, who at the time had 33 caps between them, both understood they had Welsh-born grandparents but could not produce documentary evidence in support of those claims.

"We are very pleased with the verdict - the decision is a very fair one,'' WRU secretary Dennis Gethin told BBC Radio Wales. "We've conducted our own internal investigation into the matter and errors were made, but not on a deliberate basis. The whole episode has been a chastening experience."

France's two top clubs, Perpignan and Tarbes, met in the last French Championship Final before the Great War. Perpignan, who fielded a side with no capped international player, won 8-7 at the Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse.

Wasps wound up an eventful season for them by beating Harlequins 42-22 to finish champions of the Courage Leagues.

Llanelli proved too strong for Newport as they ran out 32-9 winners in the Principality Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. The Scarlets overcame a 9-3 deficit after 30 minutes to score 29 unanswered points and secure their 12th Welsh cup triumph since the competition began in 1972.

Wales wing Mark Jones scored two tries, while there were also touchdowns for skipper Leigh Davies and second-half substitute Salesi Finau.

Roger Ramis, the Perpignan captain, was the man of the match in the French Championship Final in Narbonne. He scored the only try and converted it in his side's 5-0 triumph against Carcassonne.

The South American Jaguars concluded their first visit to South Africa, losing the Durban Test against the Springboks 18-9. For the home side, Naas Botha dropped three goals, kicked a penalty and converted Morné du Plessis's try.

The rebel New Zealand Cavaliers team touring South Africa lost for the first time, beaten 24-19 by Transvaal at Ellis Park.

© Scrum.com
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