Cockerill kicks off with victory, Racing back in the mix
Richard Cockerill's tenure as interim Toulon head coach got off to a winning start as they beat Toulouse 33-23 to keep their Top 14 play-off hopes in tact.
Cockerill replaced Mike Ford in the dugout for the visit of Toulouse and he got the reaction he wanted as the hosts ran in three tries to hold onto fourth place in the table.
Ma'a Nonu grabbed Toulon's third score after Guilhem Guirado and a penalty try after Maxime Medard's yellow card had given them a first-half advantage.
It was the boot of Leigh Halfpenny that proved vital, though, as the Wales full-back kept the scoreboard ticking over with three penalties and three successful conversions.
Census Johnston crossed late on for the visitors but it was too little, too late as Toulon kept in touch with third-placed Montpellier.
Reigning champions Racing 92 are also in the hunt for a top-six finish after surviving a late scare to beat Pau 34-32, the Paris club nearly throwing away a 26-point lead in the second half.
First-half tries from Joe Rokocoko, Juan Imhoff and Ben Tameifuna seemed to have given them total control of proceedings, with Dan Carter kicking 12 points as they went into the break 27-8 ahead.
That lead was stretched to 34-8 through Henry Chavancy after the restart, but Pau came storming back to earn a losing bonus point and would have won had Brandon Fajardo been more accurate from the tee.
Taniela Moa began their revival on the hour with Watisoni Votu, Romain Buros and Daniel Ramsay all touching down to give Racing a scare.
However, Fajardo could only convert two of the four tries and that proved costly as Racing moved up to seventh, level with fifth-placed Pau and Castres.