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May 19 down the years
Leinster reach European summit - again
Brian O'Driscoll enjoys the moment, Leinster v Ulster, Heineken Cup Final, Twickenham, London, May 19, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll enjoys Leinster's Heineken Cup triumph on this day in 2012 © PA Photos
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Leinster were hailed as the greatest European club side of all time following their 42-14 victory over Ulster in their Heineken Cup final showdown at Twickenham. Tries from Sean O'Brien, Cian Healy, Heinke van der Merwe and Sean Cronin - and a crucial penalty try - propelled Joe Schmidt's side to their third European title in the space of just four years. "The debate can end here and now," wrote ESPNscrum's Graham Jenkins. "This Leinster side is the best European team of all time."

An agreement was reached among the three major southern hemisphere Unions (SANZAR) to launch the annual Tri-Nations International Championship and Super 12, to start in 1996.

The tournament was launched with heavy investment from broadcast partner News Ltd, with Rian Olberholzer serving as SANZAR's first CEO. In 1996 New Zealand completed a clean-sweep of the Tri-Nations, while their dominance was confirmed with the Auckland Blues being crowned as the first Champions of the newly-formed Super 12. The Kiwi side saw off the challenge of Natal Sharks 45-21 in the inaugural final.

Leicester defeated Stade Francais 34-30 in Paris to win the Heineken European Cup at Parc des Princes in Paris. The Tigers completed a treble although Stade Francais gave them a huge scare through the boot of Diego Dominguez, who scored all their points with a record nine penalties and a drop goal, although they were outscored by three tries to nil.

Leon Lloyd bagged a brace and Neil Back the other try, while Tim Stimpson put in an excellent performance with the boot. Skipper Martin Johnson nearly killed his side's chances however, his punches on Christophe Juillet seeing him leniently sent to the sin bin when he could well have seen red.

All Black Jeff Wilson announced his retirement from rugby to concentrate on playing cricket and winning a Test cap for New Zealand. Wilson had to choose between cricket and rugby after playing four one-day internationals for New Zealand in the early 90s, choosing rugby and forging a brilliant career for New Zealand, playing 71 matches including 60 Tests. He is also one of the country's leading Test try scorers with 44.

Wilson's cricket career failed to take off immediately following his retirement from rugby, but during the 2004-05 season an upturn in form saw him gain a surprise call-up to New Zealand's squad for one-day internationals against a World XI. Following his call-up he went on to win two more ODI caps for the Black Caps against Australia in 2005, but never won that elusive Test cap.

A crowd of 95,000 (reported L'Equipe) watched France escape from the August 23rd Stadium in Bucharest with a narrow 18-15 Test victory over Romania. In a Sunday match refereed by Watford's Les Boundy, Romania lead 9-6 at half-time.

Wallaby Jim Lenehan inspired New South Wales to an unexpected yet well-merited 12-11 victory over a star-studded New Zealand touring side in Sydney.

Wales opened their short tour of South Africa with a comfortable 17-6 win against Boland at Wellington.

Barry McGann kicked Ireland to a 12-3 win against Sid Going's North Auckland side in Whangarei. The Irish fly-half landed a drop goal, a penalty and converted a try by skipper Tom Grace.

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