Rugby Union: Shepherd has the power to overcome Pau

Caledonia 30 Pau 24
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The Independent Online
Caledonia 30

Pau 24

A stirring second-half display maintained Caledonia's faint hopes of a European Cup quarter-final play-off place as they pulled off a surprise victory over Pau yesterday.

Leading 13-12 at half-time through two Rowan Shepherd penalties and a converted Rob Wainwright try, they upped the tempo after the break and survived a late Pau comeback to hang on for a vital win.

Pau, with the threat of a further pounds 15,000 fine hanging over them following their first encounter with Llanelli, seemed unusually subdued in the opening period, and with two heavy defeats on their travels behind them Caledonia were also slow to gain momentum.

It was 20 minutes before the first of Shepherd's six successful kicks opened the scoring from a penalty, only for the French wing, Yannick Martin, to go over in the corner immediately afterwards.

Following a succession of tap penalties close to the Pau line Wainwright picked up and drove over from 10 yards, Shepherd adding the conversion.

But when left wing John Kerr obstructed his opposite number, Philippe Bernat-Salles, the referee awarded Pau a penalty try and David Aucagne added the extra two points. Another Shepherd penalty gave Caledonia a 13-12 lead at half-time which Shepherd extended after 51 minutes with another penalty.

David Officer squeezed through for the second try and Shepherd's conversion made it 23-12 with 15 minutes remaining and seven minutes later Kerr sold Bernat-Salles a superb dummy for the decisive third score.

Despite Aucagne converting his own try and another in the dying minutes from substitute Sebastian Claverie, Caledonia held on.

Caledonia: Tries Kerr, D Officer, Wainwright; Conversions Shepherd 3; Penalties Shepherd 3. Pau: Tries Aucagne, Claverie, Martin, penalty try; Conversions Aucagne 2.