Ebbw Vale might have to get used to playing at Newport's Rodney Parade in the future, but they loved their first taste of it.
An excellent victory gives Ebbw Vale a hugely important 26-point headstart for next weekend's daunting trip to Pau. It wasn't pretty rugby, but it proved highly effective in the cold, wet conditions.
Regular penalty goals to Ebbw Vale scrum-half Bryan Shelbourne gave the scoreboard attendant something to do as Mike Ruddock's side worked hard to give the fans something to cheer about, but they were fighting an uphill battle against a team who had one eye on the clock and the other on next weekend's return leg at home. Despite the comprehensive loss, Pau will feel confident of overturning the deficit at their Stade du Hameau cauldron next weekend.
Three Shelbourne penalty goals gave the 'home' side a 9-0 lead at the break, prompting Pau coach Jean Louis Luneau to throw on four fresh players for the second half.
A penalty goal to Pau's Welsh player Matt Pearson briefly narrowed the gap before Shelbourne kicked his fourth and Ebbw Vale hooker Jonathan Evans - a late replacement for captain Leyton Phillips - burrowed over to put the game out of the French club's reach.
Pau reacted in their normal manner - physically - but it was a Vale player who saw yellow. Prop Martin Jones took exception to his opposite number boring in at the scrum and his ensuing punch cost him 10 minutes in the sin-bin. He was joined shortly afterwards by Pau flanker Soanne Toevalu for repeated infringements at the breakdowns.No 8 Kati Tuipolotu powered over in the final minutes to score what could be a valuable try as Ebbw Vale strive for a spot in the European Shield semi-finals. Shelbourne added a penalty goal in the last play of the game to finish with 19 points.
Ebbw Vale: R Davies; A Takarangi, R Shorney, E Binham, A Bevan; S Mitchell, B Shelbourne; A Black, J Evans, M Jones (D Penesini 75), P Sidoli, N Edwards (O Booyse 35) (D Penesini 57-67), C Billen (capt), P Williams, K Tuipulotu (W Thomas 76)
Pau: S Jonnet (D Aucagne 40); M Pearson, E Artiguste (J-B Peyras-Loustalet 40), J-C Cistacq (D Aucagne 28-36), N Sestaret; D Arrieta, P Carbonneau (capt) (N Duffard 58); F Guatieri (M Larrouy 40), M Tincu (J Hourcade 68), O Sourgens (D Laperne 40), T Cleda, M Jolly (M Gady 70), J Carre, S Toevalu, B Bordenave
Yellow cards: M Jones (Ebbw Vale), S Toevalu (Pau)