Murrayfield hosts dramatic European finale
Toulouse edged Stade Francais to be crowned European champions at Murrayfield
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Murrayfield staged its first Heineken Cup Final. There were 51,326 present to see an all-French affair end with Toulouse beating Stade Francais 18-12 after extra time. Stade led for virtually the entire match before a last-minute penalty from Frederic Michalak drew the teams level at 12-12 and took the game into extra time. Toulouse went on to win after a further penalty and drop-goal from Michalak secured an 18-12 triumph to cue dramatic celebrations including the Toulouse coach Guy Noves being led away by stewards after he became involved in an altercation while climbing a fence to embrace with his familly.
The inaugural Rugby World Cup kicked-off with New Zealand trouncing Italy 70-6 at Eden Park, Auckland. The Pool 3 match was played in front of 20,000 spectators and saw the home team and eventual world champions win the match 70-6, scoring 12 four-point tries. Wingers Craig Green and John Kirwan both scored braces, as did scrum-half and skipper David Kirk. Other tries came from Michael Jones, Steve McDowell, centres Joe Stanley and Warwick Taylor flanker Alan Whetton and a penalty try.
New Zealand played its first official match, beating a Wellington XV 9-0 before setting off on its inaugural tour to Australia. The developing rugby nation would not play a Test match for 19 years however, their first engagement against the Wallabies coming in 1903 at Sydney Football Stadium. The All Blacks won 22-3.
Otago, so often a thorn in the side to touring British/Irish teams, extended their fine record against visitors with a 14-9 defeat of the England tour side.
Tom Grace's Ireland team were beaten in New Zealand for the first time, losing narrowly 13-10 to Auckland at Eden Park.
A Test-strength French XV was held to a 10-10 draw by the USSR in Moscow.
Brothers Stephen Bachop (for Samoa) and Graeme Bachop (Japan) faced each other in a Test in the Epson Cup series in Osaka. Japan won a see-saw game 37-34, with former All Black and World Cup-finalist Jamie Joseph crossing for the Japanese.