Defending champions Toulouse were brought down to earth when they were beaten 18-13 at Bayonne in the first round of the new Top 14 French championship season on Friday.
Every side in France is missing players but Toulouse (12) and Clermont (13) have the biggest handicap as they face the first six rounds at least without their internationals who are preparing for the World Cup
Trailing 9-0 at half-time thanks to three Benjamin Boyet penalties, Toulouse showed signs of life in the second period with former All Black Luke McAlister making an immediate impact when he came on.
But with both sides trading kicks, the champions still trailed 18-7 as the siren signalled the end of 80 minutes.
France reject Yannick Jauzion, however, crashed through for a try which at least enabled Toulouse to claim a defensive bonus point for finishing within seven points of Bayonne.
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