The European club season got underway on Thursday when Gloucester won (11-6) a tight tussle with Mont de Marsan in the Challenge Cup.
A first-half try from left wing Ian Clark on his European debut proved the difference between the two teams in difficult conditions at the Stade Guy Boniface.
Clark crossed on the half hour after a fine break from scrum-half Dave Lewis. Lewis sliced through at a base of a ruck on the edge of the 22 and had the presence of mind to present the ball to be recycled rather than reach for the line when he was dragged down just short.
Gloucester immediately made the most of the extra numbers as Clark dotted down for the only try of the game just moments after Mont de Marsan's Scottish lock Scott Murray had been the first player to be sinbinned.
Clark's try was the only score of the opening half but Tim Taylor made it 8-0 with a 53rd minute penalty two minutes after replacement hooker Ephraïm Taukafa also saw yellow.
Gloucester flank Andy Hazell then endured a nightmare spell as he threatened to let Mont de Marsan back into the game. First the veteran openside gave away a penalty that Jean Baptiste Claverie kicked to make it 8-3 and then he threw a flurry of punches and a knee after being taken out late on 55 minutes.
Hazell saw red for his outburst, but Gloucester hung on despite having fellow back rower Matt Cox sin binned for his involvement in the same incident.
Billy Twelvetrees struck a penalty on 63 minutes to push the visitors two scores clear and an even a second kick from Claverie late on couldn't prevent Gloucester leaving with a valuable win.
For Mont de Marsan:
Pens: Claverie 2
Pens: Taylor, Twelvetrees
Yellow cards: Scott Murray (Mont de Marsan, 28), Ephraïm Taukafa (Mont de Marsan, 50), Matt Cox (Gloucester, 55)
Red card: Andy Hazell (Gloucester, 55)
Mont de Marsan: 15 Jean Baptiste Claverie, 14 Jordan Beaulavon, 13 Christofer Baegert, 12 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 11 Jean Baptiste Dubié, 10 Alexandre Douvesy, 9 Julien Cabannes, 8 Aldric Lescure 7 Sebastian De Chaves, 6 Yann Brethous, 5 Vickus Liebenberg, 4 Scott Murray, 3 Mathieu Giudicelli, 2 Thomas Bordes, 1 Pierre Correia.
Replacements: 16 Ephraïm Taukafa, 17 Morgan Phelipponneau, 18 Eric Dos Santos, 19 Vincent Farre, 20 Laurent Magnaval, 21 Thibault Duvallet, 22 Yohann Durquet, 23 Sebastien Ormaechea.
Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Ian Clark, 10 Tim Taylor, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Sione Kalafamoni, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Will James, 4 Peter Buxton, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Elliot Stooke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Henry Trinder, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: James Jones (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)