The European Rugby Challenge Cup – then known as the European Shield – was launched in 1996 and the first final took place in January of the following year, with Bourgoin defeating fellow French outfit Castres Olympique 18-9 in Béziers 

Our Throwback Thursday takes a look back at the final, played in front of a sell-out crowd at Stade de la Méditerranée in southern France. 

The two sides enjoyed flawless pool stages, winning all five of their matches before seeing off the likes of modern giants RC Toulon and Montferrand (now ASM Clermont Auvergne) in the knockout stagesso it was no surprise that the final started in a nervy fashion with little splitting the sides. 

The two teams were locked at 6-6 at the break, with centre Alexandre Péclier kicking two penalties for Bourgoin and full-back Cyril Savy doing likewise for Castres Olympique. 

Péclier nudged Bourgoin ahead again with a drop goal, but it was replacement fly-half PatricFavre who finished off Castres, slotting over three penalties to one from Castres fly-half Sébastien Paillat. 

Bourgoin reached two more finals that season, coming out on the wrong side on both occasions, in the French Championship final to Toulouse (12-6) and the Coupe de France to Pau (13-11).