Close encounters in NPC 3
October 18, 1999
East Coast will host the final, their first, in what has already been the best season in their 78-year history. They had to wait until an injury time penalty gave them the decisive lead in their semi-final victory over Horowhenua-Kapiti. The size of the East Coast pack has frequently got them out of trouble but they will probably need to show a little more midfield guile against Poverty Bay.
The Bay will not be overawed up front, in lock Wayne Ensor, their skipper, flanker Johnny Martin and no 8 Mana Pohatu they have skilful ruckers and maulers.They will also have crucial experience on their side and will hope that the Coasters' unaccustomed presence in such a showcase match will prove unnerving.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9