Toulon’s dreadful start to the season continued with a 13-9 loss at home to La Rochelle on Sunday which left them second-bottom in the Top 14, while Bordeaux brushed aside Lyon.
Patrice Collazo’s three-time European champions have now lost five matches in a row after also suffering back-to-back Champions Cup defeats against Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Toulon, who have not missed out on the play-offs since 2011, already sit 11 points adrift of the top six in the French top flight.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal had given coach Collazo his backing before the game, but the hosts could only muster three penalties from fly-half Anthony Belleau as La Rochelle claimed their first away victory of the campaign.
New Zealander Ihaia West grabbed the only try of the game in the fifth minute before slotting over the extras himself.
The 26-year-old fly-half ended up scoring all of La Rochelle’s points as the visitors never trailed in the game against a toothless Toulon, who will face newly-promoted Perpignan at home in a battle of the bottom two teams in the league next Saturday.
La Rochelle now sit seventh in the table, behind sixth-placed Lyon only on goal difference.
– Bordeaux grab bonus-point win –
Earlier on Sunday, Bordeaux-Begles defied wet and windy conditions to score four tries and claim a dramatic bonus point on their way to a comprehensive 35-13 win over Lyon.
Lyon travelled to the west coast boasting the best defence in Top 14 and buoyed after a 19-13 win over Racing 92 on their last away outing.
But Bordeaux gave the visitors no quarter, scrum-half Baptiste Serin touching down for the first of their four tries after just nine minutes to push Lyon quickly into defensive mode.
It set the tone for a convincing home win that, aided by a yellow card to hooker Mickael Ivaldi, handed Lyon their biggest reverse of the league season.
Lyon manager Pierre Mignoni conceded: “What can we say? Bordeaux managed their game far better, were more enterprising and dominated the duels. Hats-off to them.
“We’re feeling rather ashamed. It’s been a long time we’ve played like this. I didn’t really recognise my team. I hope it’s just a flash in the pan.”
A Lyon penalty cut the deficit to 11-6, but their bid was hit minutes later when Ivaldi was sin-binned for what would prove to be a costly yellow-card offence.
Serin kicked the penalty for a 14-6 lead and Bordeaux quickly capitalised on the man advantage, Fijian Semi Radradra brushing off three tackles on a 25-yard run to touch down his first try of the season.
Ivaldi’s return hardly boosted Lyon, the visitors quickly conceding another penalty. Bordeaux kicked into touch five metres from the try line, and flanker Mahamadou Diaby touched over moments later for his third try in as many outings.
Brock James’ conversion took Bordeaux to 28-6 and although Lyon scored their only try in the 72nd minute thanks to Rudi Wulf, the hosts would regain their bonus point in dramatic circumstances.
An extra-time penalty set up a final scrum and it was replacement scrum-half Yann Lesgourgues who touched down in the 84th minute to secure the bonus.
Bordeaux moved up to fifth, eight points behind leaders Clermont following their 41-6 rout of Castres on Saturday.
“It seemed the English weather conditions suited us,” joked Bordeaux coach Rory Teague.
“But I’m pleased with how we showed determination and attitude. It will set us up well for next week when we have to travel to Toulouse.”
Stade Francais sit in second spot, three points behind Clermont, following their 25-20 win over Montpellier while Toulouse are third after Saturday’s 36-18 win at Perpignan.
jys-rap/jd/jc/nr (Additional editing by Sean McMahon)
© Agence France-Presse