Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
World Cup kicks off in style
The opening ceremony was a glittering occasion
Deafening cheers greeted the opening of the first game of the Rugby World Cup as Wales and Argentina began their battle at Cardiff's new Millennium Stadium.
Supported by Bryn Terfel, Michael Ball and Max Boyce, they sang the Rugby World Cup anthem World in Union.
First on in front of the 72,000 capacity crowd were local favourites Catatonia, who performed their hit song International Velvet.
The commandos hoisted the wings of a giant, skeletal, red dragon - the icon of Welsh rugby - in a ceremony rich in sybolism and drama.
The tournament itself was a chance for the Welsh players to show whether they too had been reborn as a major force in world rugby.
As it turned out they edged to a narrow, untidy 23-18 victory over fiercely competitive Argentina in the opening match.
The Prince of Wales, who earlier told supporters he was confident of a Welsh victory, officially declared the tournament open on his first visit to the new stadium.
"I shall follow the progress of the teams as they play in a spirit of friendly competition.
"I look forward to joining you in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, for the World Cup final on Saturday 6 November."
Then Prince Charles said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I should also like to add my own good wishes to all those countries taking part.
"I am delighted to declare the 1999 Rugby World Cup tournament open."
Prince Charles, wearing a Welsh Rugby Union tie, earlier stopped en route to the stadium and was greeted by a crowd of fans outside the city's new five star Hilton Cardiff Hotel, which he officially opened.
The organisers promised "dazzling special effects and pyrotechnics" to accompany Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel as they sang the tournament theme song, the World in Union - and they did not disappoint.
Male and female players from all levels of rugby in Wales also took part, as did the RAF's Red Arrows in the skies above.
Vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo represented cup-holders South Africa.