The more you watched, the more you felt Mike Catt's pain. It was an epic mis-match as the England fullback was confronted by the snorting power of Jonah Lomu, the All Blacks enormous left wing.
He had been brooding all week, stung by newspaper comments he'd read from his English opponent Tony Underwood. Lomu stuck the article on his bathroom mirror and every time he saw it he'd mutter; "Yeah, okay, Tony we'll get it on at the end of the week."
One of the stacks of faxes to arrive that week at the All Blacks hotel read: "Remember rugby is a team game so all 14 of you pass the ball to Jonah."
When Underwood winked at Lomu during the pre-match haka, it incensed the hulking All Blacks wing even more. It took only a few minutes for the pair to tangle, or at least for Lomu to swat him away, as England found themselves in a world of anxiety about their rivals' unorthodox tactics.
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Lomu retrieved a loose pass, palmed off Underwood's tackle attempt, kept his balance after being ankle-tapped by Will Carling and trampled his way through Catt to the line.
It was a stunning opening to the World Cup semifinal at Newlands and one which left experienced New Zealand broadcaster Keith Quinn equally stunned with his "oh, oh" verbal volley of surprise.
There have been many depictions of Lomu as a giant bully but those who saw him at this tournament and in subsequent work could appreciate the finesse and micro-skills he had to his game. He had superb balance, magnificent handling skills, great speed and a step garnished with brutal power.
Anyone confronted with that explosive combination had every right to fear the consequences. All Blacks great Colin Meads said, "I've seen a lot people like him, but they weren't playing on the wing."
Media magnate Rupert Murdock was equally impressed, so much so that he agreed to bankroll rugby's move to professionalism as long as Lomu was involved.