Toulouse's replacement scrum-half Nicolas Bezy nailed a late penalty to beat La Rochelle 22-19 in their Top 14 clash at the Stade Marcel Deflandre.
Deprived of internationals, the defending champions nevertheless found the resources to win in the 18th round of the French championship and remain number one on the table.
The hosts led twice early on in the match quarter thanks to full-back Greg Goosen's boot, with Toulouse fly-half Frederic Michalak keeping his side in touching distance.
Centre Rupeni Caucaunibuca touched down for the visitors and gave Toulouse the lead with Michalak adding the conversion to cement their advantage.
Goosen kept La Rochelle in the hunt with his third penalty, before Toulouse full-back Cedric Heymans slotted over a cheeky drop goal. But La Rochelle dug deep once more and a converted try from lock Piula Faasalele brought them level once more.
Michalak and Goosen traded two further penalties before half-time to leave the scores tied at 19-19. The points spree was not to continue after the break with Bezy's penalty two minutes from time the only score in the half.
For La Rochelle:
Pens: Goosen 4
Pens: Bezy, Michalak 2
Drops: Heymans, Michalak
La Rochelle:15 Greg Goosen, 14 Thomas Combezou, 13 Vincent Roux, 12 Seru Rabeni, 11 Florian Ninard, 10 RÃ©mi Tales, 9 Damien Neveu, 8 Thomas Soucaze, 7 Romain Sazy, 6 Nicolas Djebaili, 5 Cobus Grobler, 4 Piula Faasalele, 3 Tamato Leupolu, 2 Franco Pani, 1 Petrisor Toderasc.
Replacements:16 Andres Bordoy, 17 Alexandre Bares, 18 Franck Jacob, 19 Peio Som, 20 Benjamin Dambielle, 21 Sefulu Gaugau, 22 Manoel Dall'igna, 23 Jonathan Garcia.
Toulouse: 15 Cedric Heymans, 14 Vilimoni Delasau, 13 Rupeni Caucaunibuca, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Pierre-Gilles Lakafia, 10 FrÃ©dÃ©ric Michalak, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Shaun Sowerby, 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Gregory Lamboley, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Benoit Lecouls, 2 Virgil Lacombe, 1 Daan Human
Replacements: 16 Alberto Vernet-Basualdo, 17 Jean Bouilhou, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Romain Millo-Chluski, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Jean-Bapiste Poux, 22 Nicolas BÃ©zy, 23 Aurelien Imperial.