Stade Français returned to winning ways when they registered a hard-fought 31-26 victory over La Rochelle in Paris on Sunday.
The home side were full value for their win, outscoring La Rochelle by four tries to two with Antoine Burban grabbing a brace and Julien Dupuy contributed 11 points via four conversions and a penalty.
The result is a setback for La Rochelle who were in top spot in the standings at the start of the round but they have now dropped down to second place, two points adrift of tabletoppers Clermont.
La Rochelle made an impressive start and led 6-0 by the 13th minute thanks to two Brock James penalties. Three minutes earlier, Stade suffered a blow when Waisea Nayacalevu was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle on Vincent Rattez.
But despite their numerical disadvantage, the home side took the lead when Burban crossed for his first try, before James struck back with his third penalty in the 36th minute.
Shortly afterwards, Burban scored his second try and Dupuy's conversion meant Stade went into the sheds with a 14-9 lead at half-time.
Three minutes into the second half, Dupuy added another three-pointer from the kicking tee before James added a penalty of his own in the 46th minute.
Stade held the upperhand, however, and were soon rewarded when Lakafia crossed for his try in the 48th minute. The hosts sealed the win via a penalty try in the 65th minute but La Rochelle didn't surrender and soon Arthur Retiere crossed for their opening five-pointer.
The visitors were handed a lifeline when Laurent Sempere received a yellow card for collapsing a maul, inside the last 10 minutes and although Jeremie Maurouard crossed for La Rochelle's second try shortly afterwards, Stade held on to clinch the win.
For Stade Français:
Tries: Burban 2, Lakafia, Penalty Try
Cons: Dupuy 4
Yellow Cards: Nayacalevu, Sempere
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Retiere, Maurouard
Cons: James 2
Pens: James 4
Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Paul Williams, 11 Jérémy Sinzelle, Meyer Bosman, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Jonathan Ross, 7 Raphaël Lakafia, 6 Antoine Burban, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Rémy Bonfils, 1 Heinke Van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Laurent Sempere, 17 Aled De Malmanche, 18 Pascal Papé, 19 Sekou Macalou, 20 Clément Daguin, 21 Theo Millet, 22 Julien Arias, 23 Sakaria Taulafo
La Rochelle: 15 Vincent Rattez, 14 Romaric Camou, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Gabriel Lacroix, 10 Brock James, 9 Alexis Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Afaesetiti Amosa, 6 Romain Sazy, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Romana Graham, 3 Luc Mousset, 2 Jeremie Maurouard, 1 Vincent Pelo
Replacements: 16 Hikairo Forbes, 17 Mike Corbel, 18 Leandro Cedaro, 19 Jone Qovu, 20 Arthur Retiere, 21 Benjamin Noble, 22 Steeve Barry, 23 Uini Atonio
Referee: Pascal Gauzère