Bryan Habana celebrated his return to Toulon after a long injury lay-off by scoring the decisive try for a 22-20 Top 14 win over Bordeaux on Saturday.
The Springbok wing, who has been out since December with a damaged hamstring, dotted down after 65 minutes, when Toulon were trailing 20-12, with help from former Bok flanker Juan Smith. Earlier in the first half, Habana prevented a Bordeaux try, but earned himself a yellow card for killing the ball. Bordeaux still held the lead until the 71st minute when Matt Giteau kicked a penalty.
Clermont had to come from behind against Castres to win 23-11, and extend their remarkable home record of winning matches to 76.
Castres led 8-6 at the break, thanks to a try from Capo Ortega, and it was not until almost an hour that Wesley Fofana scored Clermont's first try. Rory Kockott's penalties kept Castres within two points until five minutes from time when winger Napolioni Nalaga sealed the home win.
Stade Français, who kept Bok flyhalf Morné Steyn on the bench throughout in favour of Jules Plisson, lost valuable ground in the race for play-off places, falling to eighth after losing 24-19 to Bayonne, who scored all their points through penalties converted by Martin Busco Moyano.
Montpellier retained top spot with a 36-30 win over Grenoble.
Clermont Auvergne 23 Castres 11
Bordeaux Begles 20 Toulon 22
Bayonne 24 Stade Français 19
Grenoble 30 Montpellier 36
Perpignan 22 Oyonnax 12
Racing Métro 37 Biarritz 7
Toulouse 16 Brive 9
Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images