Pau end Bristol hopes
England's last hope of breaking the French domination of the European Shield ended in Tarbes as a young Bristol side they beaten 51-27 by Pau.
Although Bristol led 13-3 in the first half thanks to an early try by No. 8 Craig Short, Pau battled back to 20-13 at the interval and then added five more tries in the second half.
Top of Pool 2 of the French Championship, Pau fielded a near full strength side while Bristol coach Bob Dwyer put out a shadow team as he kept one eye on next Wednesday's Allied Dunbar Premiership fixture against London Irish.
There were 23 points from former French outside half David Aucagne and two tries for Pau by the former Northampton centre David Dantiaq. Bristol at least managed two second half tries from wings James Ogilvie-Bull and Sean Marsden to add a degree of respectability to the scoreline.
Bristol went into the match preferring to rest many of their senior players to keep alive their revised target of a top-four finish in the Premiership to ensure automatic entry into next season's European Cup.
"We just gave away too much possession and our turnover rate was something like 20 balls in the match," said Dwyer. "You just cannot afford to do that against such good opposition. Obviously
though disappointed with this result, I felt that we had performed well in the tournament. Our win against Biarritz in the quarter-final was a marvellous result considering all the problems that we have encountered in the tournament."