Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte read the riot act to his players after they were beaten 22-13 in Agen in the Top 14 a week after clinching an Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final slot with a comprehensive defeat of Harlequins.
Laporte was so upset by the display that he demanded the players gave up their Sunday off and came in for an extra training session in the afternoon. The defeat increased the pressure on Toulon in the battle for Play-Off places as the gap between themselves in third and the three teams below them narrowed.
Instead of a six point cushion over fourth place Montpellier, the gap is now one point, and Racing Metro 92 and Castres Olympique are only four points back.
"I feel more like a spectator than a coach - I feel powerless. That why instead of going to the beach with their wives the players were called in for an extra training session on Sunday," explained Laporte.
"The players didn't live up to our expectations. We did not respect the basic rules of rugby and they were lacking in desire.
"Now I have more data with which to make my decisions. Some of the players complain because they are not playing a lot, but when they play it is not the same team. When we miss a few players our team is average.
"I wouldn't say that Toulon has not been serious but when you mix good players and average players you do not have a great team. Matt Giteau missed a tackle on the Agen try and he also missed two goal kicks - usually he is better than that."
Toulon, beaten finalists in 2010, will have home advantage over last season's runners-up Stade Francais Paris in the first of two all-French semi-finals in the Amlin Challenge Cup at Stade Felix Mayol on Friday, 27 April (kick-off 20.55).
As well as losing in Agen, Toulon also lost scrum half Fabien Cibray with a right ankle injury that is likely to rule him out of contention for the semi-finals. He has been told he will not be able to play for two weeks.
"When we make changes, the team does not play at the same level. It is all about attitude and we don't behave like a big team," claimed backs coach Pierre Mignoni.
"I think the team was still thinking about our victory against the Harlequins"
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.