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Gallagher Premiership side Worcester Warriors face a daunting trip to Top 14 outfit Pau in the opening round of Challenge Cup fixtures.
Pau haven’t lost in the Challenge Cup at the Stade du Hameau since 2017, reeling off 10 consecutive triumphs at home in the competition. The Warriors, meanwhile, have struggled away from home against Top 14 opposition in recent years.
- Pau and Worcester have met twice before in the Challenge Cup, both sides winning their home games when they met in the pool stage of the 2018/19 edition of the competition.
- Pau have won their last 10 home games in the Challenge Cup, Cardiff Blues in January 2017 the last side to pick up a result against them on their own patch.
- Worcester have won just one of their last 14 away games against TOP 14 opponents in the Challenge Cup (D1, L12), a memorable 38-27 victory against Stade Francais in October 2018.
- Pau had the best lineout success rate (93%) of any side in the Challenge Cup last season, winning 62 of their 67 throws.
- Jamie Shillcock (Worcester) was the top try scorer in the Challenge Cup last season, scoring five as well as assisting a further four.
Worcester Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons: “It’s always a good challenge to go to France and play a Top 14 side.
“Pau have lost a number of matches by very narrow margins this season including against Racing 92 and Toulouse so they are a good side. Everyone is buzzing and excited about going over there.”
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An 80th minute try from Antonie Erbani secured a 24-20 victory for Pau against Worcester Warriors in the opening round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
First half tries from Nicolas Corato and Eoghan Barrett for the hosts were cancelled out by a penalty try and a Gareth Stimpson score for Worcester as the teams entered the break level at 14-14.
Barrett’s try was a sign of things to come as his score came in added time at the end of the first period.
A penalty apiece early in the second half from the boots of Samuel Marquez and Jamie Shillcock kept the sides level. Shillcock them added a second penalty on 60 minutes to give the visitors the lead.
The English side held on to that advantage until the final seconds of the contest, Erbani rumbling over to break Worcester hearts – two added time tries, one in each half, the catalyst for victory.
Worcester now face an Ospreys side which demolished Castres Olympique on opening weekend, Pau face off against London Irish who beat Agen.