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Christophe Deylaud won the inaugural Heineken Cup for Toulouse when he kicked a penalty goal in the final seconds of extra time at the National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park.
Adrian Davies, Deylaud's opposite number, set up a dramatic finale when he kicked his fifth penalty in the 83rd minute, to bring the scores level 15- 15 and force another 30 minutes of extra time.
Deylaud put Toulouse back in front two minutes after the restart but his penalty was matched by another by Davies to tie the scores again.
But although both clubs had chances to clinch victory in a nail-biting finish it was Deylaud who proved the match-winner after referee David McHugh decided Cardiff had illegally handled in a ruck 20 yards out.
Cardiff might have had complaints about the fateful refereeing decision, but not the eventual outcome. Toulouse, with less possession, produced some scintillating rugby and scored two excellent tries within 10 minutes which, hard though they tried, the Welsh champions could not match.
Thomas Castaignede, who also dropped a crucial goal, grabbed the first try in a Heineken Cup final with a run up the left touchline and scrum half Jerome Cazalbou crossed for the other. It didn't help Cardiff's cause to find themselves 12 points adrift so early, particularly as their pack won plenty of ball and had Toulouse on the retreat.
But whereas Toulouse continued to look threatening with the ball in hand, Cardiff lacked pace and penetration to take advantage of their forwards' control.
It was thanks to Adrian Davies's kicking that they inched back into the contest, although the former Wales outside half missed two relatively easy kicks midway through the second half.
There was a huge cheer from Cardiff fans when Jonathan Davies came on at half-time to replace Mark Ring, but even the former Rugby League star failed to produce a telling break against a dogged defence.
Cardiff had two great chances to win late in the match when they forced two five yard scrums within two minutes. But hard though they tried, they could not break down the defence and had to accept their luck at levelling the scores at full-time.
Both sides looked tired in the final half-hour but it was Deylaud who produced the trump card to end a thrilling and entertaining contest which augurs well for the future of the tournament.