It was 25 years ago this month that the sporting world witnessed a miracle when the former pariah state of South Africa hosted what many people still consider to be the best ever Rugby World Cup finals.

It would see President Nelson Mandela parade in the Springbok shirt he once despised as the former apartheid system gave way to the Rainbow Nation. It would see the South Africans win the World Cup for the first time – we’ll celebrate that anniversary soon – and witness the arrival of an extraordinary rugby star called Jonah Lomu. In the midst of it, the amateur sport of rugby union would be utterly transformed by an announcement of a television deal between Rupert Murdoch and the three Southern unions that led inevitably to professionalism.

How South Africa came back from the rugby wilderness is a story brilliantly told in the Clint Eastwood-directed movie Invictus. Suffice to say that until Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, the other rugby nations were never going to allow South Africa back into the club. With two World Cups successfully hosted in New Zealand in 1987 and the Home Nations in 1991, the final being at Twickenham, the International Rugby Board (IRB) were considering who would host the 1995 tournament when apartheid officially ended and South Africa was allowed back on the world stage.

They were able to offer a real carrot to the IRB that all the matches would be played in the one country for the first time. Importantly, matches would be played in much the same timezone as the major television audiences in the UK and France. But could the Finals live up to the hype?

These are all matters to be examined in the weeks and months to come. We all need some cheering up, so today I am going to concentrate on the match that briefly made Scotland world record holders.

The run-up to the Finals had seen Scotland in fine fettle, and having been the losing semi-finalists in 1991, the country hoped that the men in dark blue would go deep into the tournament, though few seriously expected a Scottish victory in the final.

The Scots had a very good Five Nations, beating Ireland and Wales at Murrayfield and France in the Parc des Princes in Paris for the first time since 1968. That set up a Grand Slam encounter with England and Twickenham and this time there was no repeat of the 1990 heroics, England winning 24-12 with all their points coming from the boot of Rob Andrew.

The sole warm-up match was against Romania, who were also going to South Africa. On April 22 at Murrayfield, the Scots won an entertaining game 49-16, the victory as comfortable as the scoreline suggests.

So off Scotland went to South Africa with the feeling that if they could just beat France in the group stages, they would avoid the All Blacks in the quarter finals and play against Ireland or Wales.

First of all, however, Scotland had to beat the minnows in Pool D, who were Tonga and Ivory Coast, the latter country more formally known as Cote d’Ivoire, though we’ll stick to the English name just now.

Ivory Coast were first up, the match played at the Olympia Park in Rustenburg. The altitude – the city is located at a height just less than the summit of Ben Nevis – and the heat were expected to give Scotland more of a hard time than their African opponents who did have some French-based players in their ranks.

Gordon Brown, Big Broon fae Troon, was working as a pundit for ITV who were the chosen broadcasters for the 1995 World Cup. He attended a training session for “Les Éléphants” as they were nicknamed and said he couldn’t believe how Ivory Coast had made the finals.

On May 26, Ivory Coast actually started the match quite well, but Gavin Hastings broke through after eight minutes, chipped ahead and gathered the lucky bounce to score the first try which he converted. Hastings then kicked two, before Ivory Coast lost their captain and best player Athanase Dali to injury.

Another Hastings try and conversion made it 20-0 on the half-hour mark before the floodgates opened. Hastings scored another try and conversion before Peter Walton crashed over for his first try for Scotland. Hastings converted and it was 34-0 at half time.

Kenny Logan with two tries and Craig Chalmers put Scotland over the 50 point mark, and it was clear that the Ivorians were knackered. Hastings converted Logan’s try to set a new world record for points in a match, and with the Scottish pack totally dominant, Tony Stanger dashed through for another try. Walton scored his second, and props Peter Wright and Paul Burnell notched scores with Hastings gaining his fourth try, equalling the number scored by an individual in a World Cup match.

Graham Shiel rounded off the tries to make it 13 five-pointers in all, and Hastings kicked the conversion to notch 44 points in all. It was 89-0, the record score of any World Cup, but it would last only nine days until New Zealand beat Japan 145-17. Still, at least we were once record setters.