Bakkies Botha is expected to be out of action for six weeks after breaking an arm as Toulon collapsed against Brive in the French Top 14 on Saturday.
The Springbok lock lasted just 11 minutes of a match which ended in 23-10 humiliation for the star-studded Toulon team, who had almost all their highest-paid players on show. Their cause was not helped by the sin-binning of South African hooker Craig Burden and prop Martin Castrogiovanni, but all they could offer was a solitary penalty by Jonny Wilkinson until New Zealand wing Rudi Wulf scored with just three minutes remaining.
Earlier, Morné Steyn kicked 17 points in a 32-6 win over Castres to take Stade Français to the top of the Top 14 log.
The Springbok No 10 slotted five penalties and a conversion against two penalties by South African scrumhalf Rory Kockott. Steyn will not be entirely happy, though, for he missed two conversions and a further two penalties.
Held to just 12-6 at half-time, Stade stepped up a gear, spreading the ball wide to reap three tries; two to Fiji right wing Waisea Vuidravuwalu and one to left wing Julien Arias.
Toulouse, who had lost seven players to the French national squad, went down 5-25 to Racing Métro, who relied heavily on their South African imports. Juandré Kruger and Francois van der Merwe started in the second row, anchored by Jacques Cronje at No 8. But it was Irishman Jonathan Sexton who did the damage, scoring a try and kicking two conversions and a penalty.
Clermont, who lost their top spot to Stade Français on Friday, blew their chance to regain the honour when they went down 18-6 to lowly Bayonne in a game decided by penalties. They had lost four influencial players to Les Bleus, but their indiscipline let them down.
Grenoble continued their impressive run, beating Perpignan 25-19, even without the services of their former Lions lock, Hendrik Roodt, for 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
Stade Français 32 Castres 6
Racing Métro 25 Toulouse 5
Montpellier 28 Bordeaux-Begles 23
Grenoble 25 Perpignan 19
Bayonne 18 Clermont Auvergne 9
Biarritz vs Oyonnax postponed (unplayable ground)
Brive 23 Toulon 10
Photo: John Berry/Getty Images