Pau vs Gloucester Rugby: All you need to know about Gloucester’s French opposition

Gloucester Rugby will travel to French side Pau on Thursday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, but how much do you know about them?

Here is all the vital information you should know ahead of the match.

What is their history?

Pau were founded in 1902 as Section Paloise de la Ligue Girondine, before adopting their current name of Section Paloise three years later.

They have won the French top-flight competition on three different occasions (1928, 1946 and 1964) and have success in this competition, beating Castres 34-21 in the 2001 final.
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Pau made the final again in 2005, but were beaten 27-3 by Sale Sharks at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford.

They were promoted to the top flight in 2014-15 season, nine years after they had been relegated.

How are they doing so far this season?

They are currently in seventh after seven games, and are coming off a 19-16 win over Union Sportive Oyonnax.

Pau have won four of their last five league games, with wins over Lyon, Castres and Agen.

Where do they play their home games?

Pau’s home stadium is the 18,000 capacity Stade du Hameau.
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Who is their coach?

The Pau head coach will be a familiar face to Gloucester Rugby fans.

Simon Mannix played for Gloucester between 1998-2001, were the fly-half made 53 appearances.
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He also had stints with the Lions, Hurricanes and Sale Sharks.

The New Zealander’s other coaching experience came as backs coach at Irish side Munster and Racing Metro.

Do they have any star players?

Pau aren’t short on star quality.

English flanker Steffon Armitage moved to Pau in the summer of 2016 from Toulon, were he won three European titles and was named European Player of the Year for the 2013-14 season.

New Zealand legend Conrad Smith is also part of the squad, after ending an 11 year spell with the Hurricanes to sign for the French side.
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Smith made 94 appearances for the All Blacks and was part of both the 2011 and 2015 World Cup winning sides.

Utility back Colin Slade also signed in 2015, coinciding with Pau’s promotion back to the top-flight.

Slade was part of the 2015 New Zealand World Cup winning team, but only played in the group match against Namibia.

Other internationals in their side include Ireland’s Dave Foley, French prop Thomas Domingo and scrum-half Julien Tomas.

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