La Rochelle picked up only their seventh win of the season when they beat high-riding Toulon 19-14 at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Sunday.
The result was a big setback for Toulon as a victory would have had added significance as it would have moved them in to first place in the Top 14 standings.
Toulon battle throughout and this is the second successive season that they have lost at La Rochelle, after suffering a 29-32 defeat in the corresponding fixture in 2015.
This match was evenly poised with the opening half delivering no tries. Jonathan Pelissie opened the scoring from the kicking tee in the 10th minute before Zack Holmes replied with apenalty of his own three minutes later.
Both sides were then reduced to 14 men in the 28th minute when Lepani Botia Veivuke and Drew Mitchell received yellow cards. The rest of the half delivered little action although Pelissie added another penalty in the 34th minute to give the visitors a 6-3 lead at half-time.
Shortly after the restart, Holmes slotted another three-pointer from the kicking tee to draw his side level before adding his third penalty in the 58th minute to give La Rochelle the lead for the first time.
The score was level shortly afterwards, when Pelissie kicked another penalty, but the game came alive in the 69th minute when Pierre Aguillon crossed for the opening try.
Holmes added the extras and slotted a penalty which gave his side a 19-9 lead with time running out on the clock. Toulon managed to secure a bonus point when Tom Taylor scored a try in injury time but it was too little too late as La Rochelle held on for victory.
For La Rochelle:
Pens: Holmes 3
Yellow card: Veivuke
Pens: Pelissie 3
Yellow card: Mitchell
La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Pierre Aguillon, 12 Lepani Botia Veivuke, 11 Elliot Roudil, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Afaesetiti Amosa, 7 Zeno Kieft, 6 Romana Graham, 5 Leandro Cedaro, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Vincent Pelo
Replacements: 16 Maxime Gau, 17 Thomas Synaeghel, 18 Damien Lagrange, 19 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 20 Kevin Gourdon, 21 Julien Audy, 22 Pierre Berard, 23 David Fe'ao
Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Jean Charles Orioli, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Iuri Natriashvili, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Manasa Saulo Romumu
Referee: Mathieu Raynal