May 23 down the years
Dallaglio experiences the game's highs and lows
What a difference five years can make ... Laurence Dallaglio lifts the Heineken Cup in 2004 © Getty Images

Wasps were crowned kings of Europe. Lawrence Dallaglio led his men to a stirring 27-20 win against Toulouse before a crowd of 73,057 at Twickenham. In the deciding passage of the game, with the sides locked at 20-20 and heading for extra time, Toulouse fullback Clement Poitrenaud produced one of the highest-profile howlers. As he waited at the corner-flag as a kick rolled down the left hand touchline. While he hesitated Wasps scrum-half Rob Howley dived to touch down as the ball crossed the line, and a remarkable match was won and lost.

Australia beat England 19-6 in Sydney on the second day of the inaugural World Cup. Despite the results, the press hailed "their most impressive performance since their 1980 Grand Slam" and said they "rediscovered their pride". The match hinged on a bitterly controversial David Campese try then minutes into the second half when the scores was 6-6 with even the Australian management admitting he had dropped the ball before touching it down. Kiwi referee Keith Lawrence, who was well behind the play, ruled otherwise and was lambasted in the British media for his ineptitude while Campese was slammed for unsportingly claiming the score. In the day's other game, Romania were given a scare by underdogs Zimbabwe before beating them 21-20.

The day's other game was a cracker as well as eventual finalists France drew 20-20 with Scotland after coming back from 16-6 down. The game was the last of John Rutherford's career as he sustained cruciate ligament damage in a double tackle, flying home straight away. He was philosophical about the injury. "I've had a good innings and cannot complain. I will be 32 in October and have had nearly a decade in international rugby, most of it without any serious injuries. I must be thankful for that."

The rugby world was rocked by a News of the World exclusive that England captain Lawrence Dallaglio had admitted to taking drugs. The paper also claimed he had dealt in them, something he categorically denied adding that "the circumstances in which the supposed admissions were obtained amounted to an elaborate set-up". Phil Hall, the newspaper's editor, said: "We stand by our story. Dallaglio is damned in his own words and frankly, we are amazed at his denial." Within a day Dallaglio had lost the captaincy.

Leinster were crowned European champions for the first time following a hard-fought 19-16 victory over Leicester in the Heineken Cup final at Murrayfield. They rallied from a first-half deficit with an assured display to end the Tigers' hopes of a record-equalling third Heineken Cup triumph and a notable domestic and European double.

In the first Test between the nations on South African soil, the Springboks inflicted the biggest defeat suffered by Wales in a Test for 40 years as they were beaten 24-3.

"Boxer" Harding's Anglo-Welsh team - the Scottish and Irish Unions had declined to support the visit - opened their New Zealand tour with a 17-3 win against Wairarapa-Bush at Masterton.

The Lions were beaten for the second match running during their tour of New Zealand. Their mid-week side lost 11-0 against Southland, four days before the Test series begun.

Ronnie Dawson's Lions opened their tour of Australia and New Zealand with a 53-18 victory against Victoria at the Olympic Ground in Melbourne.


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