Gloucester snatched a late losing bonus point as their European Challenge Cup campaign got off to a losing start with defeat at Top 14 outfit Pau.
Owen Williams converted Henry Purdy’s score with the last kick of the game to give Gloucester reward. Tries from Daniel Ramsay and Colin Slade had helped Pau into a 20-0 lead. Ruan Ackermann and Ben Vellacott gave Gloucester hope but Frank Halai’s breakaway score sealed victory for Pau before the late drama. Gloucester, who were beaten by Stade Francais in the final of last season’s competition, will be hoping Williams’ late kick could prove decisive later in the pool stages after it had appeared they would be returning from south-west France empty handed. Pau capitalised on Gloucester errors to open up their lead as Ramsay intercepted Callum Braley’s pass to score and Benson Stanley powered through the defensive line to send Slade, who converted both tries and kicked two penalties, in under the posts.
Gloucester responded well and looked the stronger side when Ackermann was driven over and Vellacott dotted down following David Halaifonua’s offload.
But, with the Cherry and Whites threatening again, Halai intercepted Williams’ cross-field chip and raced the length of the pitch. That score settled the result but Williams made some amends with his late effort from the touchline after Purdy collected another kick by the fly-half to score in the corner.
Pau: Buros; Halai, Fumat, Stanley, Pourailly; Slade, Daubagna (capt); Moise, Rey, Adriaanse, Foley, Tutaia, Ramsay, Mowen, Butler.
Replacements: Bouchet, Hurou, Hamadache, Metz, Dougall, Lebail, Fajardo, Nicot.
Gloucester: Hudson; Purdy, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Halaifonua; Williams, Braley; McAllister, Matu’u, Hohneck, Savage (capt), Denton; Polledri, Rowan, Clarke.
Replacements: Hanson, Rapava Ruskin, Denman, Ackermann, Ludlow, Vellacott, Burns, Trinder.