Paris – Reigning champions Toulouse jumped to fourth in the Top 14 with a 45-10 victory over Bayonne, who finished with 13 men, on Sunday
Toulouse who lost five of their first eight games in Top 14, have now won six straight, including two European victories.
Both teams had a chance to climb into the top three, but the game quickly became one-sided.
Sofiane Guitoune sidestepped through the Bayonne defence for the first Toulouse try after 18 minutes. Winger Matthis Lebel added a second five minutes later.
Bayonne were reduced to 14 when No. 8 Mat Luamanu was sent off for smashing high and shoulder first into scrumhalf Pierre Pages at a ruck.
Toulouse No 8 Selevasio Tolofua went over in the 47th minute before Aymeric Luc hit back for Bayonne, gathering a kick and racing over to score.
Replacement forward Gillian Galan charged over after a scrum to restore Toulouse’s bonus-point lead and another sub, prop Paulo Tafili, added the fifth try after Bayonne winger Filimo Taofifenua had been sent off for a neck-high tackle.
Earlier Brive made the most of their chances to beat Stade Francais 26-21 in a crucial bottom of the table battle.
“We won though I’m not sure it was fully deserved,” said Brive captain Said Hireche.
The Parisians dominated territorially in the first half but undermined their chances with a string of errors.
“We showed a lack of discipline that cost us too much in the first half,” said Yoann Maestri, the Stade captain.
After 25 minutes, Axel Muller intercepted a wild pass from Stade fly half Nicolas Sanchez and galloped away to score after 25 minutes.
Prop Karlen Asieshvili went over for a second after 31 minutes to put the hosts 18-3 ahead.
After left winger Muller received a yellow card for a high tackle a minute before the break, the man he should have been marking, Julien Delbouis, the Stade right wing, went over for a try.
Stade fullback Kylan Hamdaoui cut the gap to five points with a 63rd minute try that Joris Segonds converted.
With four minutes to play, Thomas Laranjeira, who made all six of his kicks at goal, landed a long-range penalty to give Brive an eight-point cushion. A last-minute penalty by Segonds earned Stade a bonus point.
Stade remain anchored to the bottom of the table.
“We’re in a negative spiral, it’s not easy, we have to work on our confidence to gradually put our game back in place,” Maestri said.
French Top 14 results:
Brive 26 Stade Francais 21
Toulouse 45 Bayonne 10
Racing92 30 Bordeaux-Begles 34
La Rochelle 22 Castres 13
Clermont 30 Agen 13
Pau 9 Toulon 19
Montpellier 33 Lyon 8