Over 23 thousand fans turned up to pay tribute to the Centurions - Jason Leonard and Neil Jenkins. And they were treated to a good-natured match that finished with a basketball score of 80-80. All the players wore the numbers of the respective legends they represented, making the proverbial commentators nightmare a reality. And in a carnival atmosphere under the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium, the two stars signed off in style.
"Its fantastic, I'd like to thank everyone who came along and supported us today" said man-of-the-match Jason Leonard. Neil Jenkins echoed his sentiments in an emotional post match ceremony which saw the stars loudly applauded during their lap of honour.
The march itself saw the sides share 24 tries, after just two minutes the scoring began with a try for Neil Boobyer, but the 'Ginger Monster's first kick at goal faded to the right. The early stages of the game were being played in Leonard's side half, and it didn't take long for the second try of the game when 'Number 10' Brett Sinkinson crossed.
Compere Rupert Moon came on the pitch to ask Jenks if he was feeling the pressure...Jenks' kick went straight through. Leonard's team hit straight back just three minutes later. Neil Back galloped into space, he passed to Northampton Saints' John Leslie for their first try of the match
Chris Wyatt and Emyr Lewis seemed to be enjoying the occasion, both making a series of searing breaks. After 11 minutes Leonard's team scored a well worked try, with James Grindal collecting the final pass and touching down. Burke added the extras to put his team into the lead for the first time.
David Bishop, reputedly 'the greatest scrum half to get just one cap' came on for Rob Howley after 12 minutes. And just moments later the 'English side' extended the lead with a try in the corner from fly-half.
By now the match was starting to get competitive, with the Millennium Stadium crowd booing the conversion attempt by Burke, it had the desired effect as the kick faded wide. The tries kept on coming, and after nineteen minutes Jenks converted a try from Robbie Mustoe to bring the scores level at 19 all.
And Jenks' team went into the lead just five minutes later as the Garin Jenkins scored their fourth try of the match. Former Wales duo of Scott Quinnell and Rob Howley brought the crowd to their feet as they combined for their side's fifth five pointer moments later.
Jenks kicked the conversion, and when Mooney ordered him to take a break, he jogged from the field. "I'm knackered," was the short message from the great man. Leonard's side soon hit back to cut Jenks' team's lead to just seven points at 33-26, and moments later the scores were level when 'number 1' passed to 'number 1', who fed 'number 1' who scored under the posts. 'Number 1' levelled up the scores with the conversion.
The try fest continued as Jenks side worked their way downfield, and Paul Moriaty touched down to take the score to 38-33. Neil Back, who gained infamy for his 'hand of back' moment in the 2002 Heineken Cup final at this venue, scored the final try of the first half to put Leonard's team up by two points at the break at 40-38.
Fans were treated to a drum solo from the Stereophonics' Stuart Cable at half time, followed by a place kicking competition with Cable, Jenks, Leonard and Wales under 21 fly half Mathew Jones. Jenks kicked with his left peg, but still proved he had the winning touch with a 100 per cent showing to earn money for a local charity.
The second half score-fest was started when Leonard's team extended their lead just two minutes into the period, and soon after former Ponty scrum half Paul John kept the Welsh side in touch with a score in the corner. But the tries kept coming and Paul Burke found a hole in the 'Wales' defence to burst trough and score, moments later John replied to again keep his team within a score as both sides reached the 50 points mark. But it didn't take long for Leonard's team to score again and herald another verse of Rule Britannia through the Millennium Stadium tannoy.
Richard Parks got in on the try-scoring act to give his side as many points as there were minutes played, three minutes before the hour mark. Jenks' side regained the lead five minutes later when a lively 'Number 10' darted over.
But the loudest cheer of the match came with Wales Legend Quinell won a 40-metre foot race to the line. Jenks' ninth conversion of the match put 12 points between the sides with the score at 73-61. But surprise surprise, there was a try almost immediately after for Leonard's side. No one knows who scored, and nobody cared, the party atmosphere inside Cardiff's showpiece stadium as strong as ever.
The scores were levelled with ten minutes to play when former Wales wing and current Scarlets backs coach Nigel Davies scored a fine try in the corner. Burke converted to put Leonard's side in the lead, 75-73. Justin Thomas gave Jenks' team the lead again with just five minutes left on the clock, however Leonard's side levelled the scores at 80-80, and the England legend took the kick himself...it missed by a country mile, and the match was over - an honourable draw.