HARRI Morgan marked a historic Ospreys debut with a final-play try that secured his side a European Challenge Cup bonus-point victory in Swansea. The Welsh region had looked as if they would have to settle for a straight win without trimmings in difficult conditions.
But, with the clock moving into the red, they launched one final attack that saw Keelan Giles chip through twice.
A desperate scramble ensued for the loose ball, but Morgan got there first.
It was the perfect way for the 18-year-old to mark a red-letter day which had seen him become the first player born this century to appear in a senior game for the Ospreys.
The match was never a classic, but the home side always had far too much for opponents who were radically changed from the week before and couldn’t get into the game.
The main man for the Ospreys was James Hook, rolling back the years at fly-half after Sam Davies had to leave the field because of a bump. The 33-year-old controlled matters with class and no little skill, choosing the right option and executing his plays with authority.
There were also bright performances out wide from George North and Luke Morgan.
Both players had scored against the Scarlets a week earlier and they repeated the trick against Pau, each breaching the defence in a 10-minute spell that killed off the French midway through the second half.
North scored first, charging onto an inside pass from Hook to cross for his fifth try in six games.
Morgan’s score was even more of a picture, with the former Wales sevens star taking the ball at pace and scooting past a number of defenders on a 40-metre surge to the line.
Beforehand, Matt Sherratt had admitted that the Ospreys were taking a leap into the unknown against their lowly French opponents.
“From experience in this competition over the last two years I think in the early rounds you don’t know what you are going to come up against,” he said.
“When I was with Cardiff Blues last year they played Lyon and their All Blacks were off skiing. As you go into the later rounds, they seem to make an appearance.”
Pau had duly made a dozen changes from the side that defeated Perpignan last time out. It was unclear if those left out had gone skiing, but it was pretty much downhill all the way for the players who took the field in Swansea.
The Ospreys had too much pace out wide, too much bite in the back row and too much experience all round.
But the match was short on quality before the break. Playing at full-back, Giles did make the spectacle slightly easier on the eye.
Within minutes of his arrival he brought the crowd to their feet by fielding the ball near his 10-metre line and swivelling past two would-be tacklers. The French immediately rushed two more defenders to the scene, only for Giles to set about perplexing them before he was brought to the ground.
The Ospreys took the lead early in the half with a score that was simplicity itself.
From a scrum, Aled Davies moved the ball to Sam Davies and he moved the ball onto Hook, with the former Wales international’s devastating line enough to do for the French cover.
Hook then turned creator as he set up North with a lovely inside ball, before Luke Morgan turned on the after-burners to leave the defence for dead out wide. Still the bonus-point score proved elusive. But then Giles, a player who makes things happen, came onto the ball and Morgan supported superbly to claim the score.
What a moment for the Ospreys’ very own 21st-century boy. OSPREYS: James Hook; George North, Cory Allen (Joe Thomas 77), Owen Watkin, Luke Morgan; Sam Davies (Keelan Giles 25), Aled Davies (Harri Morgan 65); Rhodri Jones (Nicky Smith 47), Scott Otten (Scott Baldwin 48), Ma’afu Fia (Tom Botha 30), Adam Beard (Rob McCusker 65), Bradley Davies, Olly Cracknell (Guido Volpi 77, Justin Tipuric (capt), James King PAU: Mathias Colombet; Marvin Lestremau (Pierre Nueno 50), Benson Stanley, Atila Septar, Frank Halai; Antoine Hastoy, Julien Blanc (Clovis Le Bail 50); Thomas Domingo (Lucas Rey 47), Laurent Bouchet (Geoffrey Moise 47), Nicolas Corato (Matthew Tierney 47), Julien Delannoy (Fabrice Metz 50), Dan Malafosse, Baptiste Pesenti (Matthieu Ugenda 41), Sean Dougall (Lekima Tagitagivalu 41), Antoine Erbani.