Toulon trounced Bordeaux 44-3 in the final round of the Top 14 regular season, while there were also wins for Castres, Racing, Toulouse, Clermont, Brive and Agen.
Toulon entered the last round in fourth position on the log, two places off the automatic semi-final zone. But they scored six unanswered tries in their demolition of Bordeaux to move to second in the standings, thus avoiding having to play a qualifier before the semi-finals.
The match itself was an ill-disciplined affair which produced three yellow cards and a red. Toulon wing Joshua Tuisova scored a try either side of the break to end the regular season with 11 tries.
Bordeaux still had a mathematical chance of finishing in the top six ahead of Castres, but the heavy defeat ended those hopes.
Knowing they were under pressure from Bordeaux, Castres left nothing to chance as they humbled reigning champions Stade Français 35-14. Once again, scrumhalf Rory Kockott was the winners' supreme performer with a brace of tries, three conversions and three penalties for a 25-point haul. The result means Stade finish the season in 12th position.
Johan Goosen steered Racing to comfortable 40-25 triumph over Montpellier. Both teams were vying for second position in the standings, but while Montpellier needed only a win to stay second, Racing needed a bonus-point victory. Despite the dominant display, Racing were unable to secure the desired bonus point. Montpellier and Racing end the season level on 81 points in third and fourth.
In other matches involving the top-six teams, fifth-placed Toulouse ran in eight tries to lash Grenoble 53-14 and table toppers Clermont smashed La Rochelle 57-8.
Elsewhere, Pau slumped to a 46-10 defeat at the hands of Brive and Agen edged Oyonnax 23-19 despite conceding a red card in the 23rd minute.
Round 26 results:
Toulon 44 Bordeaux 3
Castres 35 Stade Français 14
Racing 40 Montpellier 25
Toulouse 53 Grenoble 14
Clermont 57 La Rochelle 8
Brive 46 Pau 10
Agen 23 Oyonnax 19
Play-off qualifier fixtures:
Racing vs Toulouse
Montpellier vs Castres
Photo: Alexandré Dimou/Getty Images