Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 23:07 GMT
Rugby World Cup in pictures
The Millennium Stadium was barely finished in time for kick-off but the opening ceremony was a feast of Welsh passion and colour.
England experimented with an expansive running game in the group stage of the tournament, romping home 67-7 winners over Six Nations opponents Italy.
Ireland's Keith Wood grabbed four tries - a world record for a hooker - as his side cruised to a 53-8 victory in their opening match against the USA.
Scotland faced reigning champions South Africa in their opening match at Murrayfield, losing 46-29 despite a two-point half-time lead.
England centre Jeremy Guscott announced his retirement from international rugby after a disappointing, injury-plagued campaign.
For the second time in three World Cups, Welsh nemesis Samoa used their South Pacific flair to defeat Graham Henry's team 38-31.
Ireland became the first home nation casualty, losing in dramatic fashion 24-28 to Argentina thanks to the boot of Gonzalo Quesada.
Wales were unable to breach the mighty defence of eventual champions Australia at a packed Millennium Stadium, bowing out at the quarter-final stage 9-24.
South Africa's Jannie De Beer kicked a world record five drop goals and a total of 34 points as the Springboks comprehensively beat England 44-21 in their quarter-final.
Scotland's Jim Telfer applauds the Murrayfield crowd after his side's quarter-final defeat to the All Blacks. Widely acknowledged as one of the best coaches in the game, he retired following the Scots' 30-18 loss.
Matt Burke's winning penalty kick against South Africa in extra time took Australia to their second World Cup final. Earlier, Jannie De Beer's last second penalty in normal time ensured a nerve jangling addtional 20 minutes.
France's semi-final win over New Zealand owed much to the intelligence of fly-half Christophe Lamaison and the audacity of wing Phillipe Bernat-Salles. The match was arguably the greatest spectacle in the competition's history.
France rarely looked like repeating their All Black upset against a ruthlessly efficient Australian outfit. Centre Tim Horan was voted player of the tournament.
Two tries from Ben Tune and Owen Finnegan sealed coach Rod MacQueen's Wallabies a second world title.