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