Alofa's brace sees La Rochelle to famous win
La Rochelle's Fijian winger Sireli Bobo (C) runs during the French Top 14 rugby union match La Rochelle vs Toulouse on August 30, 2014 at the Marcel Deflandre stadium in La Rochelle - by Xavier Leoty
Victory, with scrum-half Jean Audy contributing 22 points with the boot, is La Rochelle's first in the Top 14 this term after their promotion.
It comes a week after they were whipped 60-19 by Top 14 and European champions Toulon -- playing Racing-Metro in Saturday's late match -- who ran in nine tries.
"This was a very disappointing performance," said Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir.
"We made a lot of mistakes in the first half but we made even more in the second, especially in the scrum.
"We need to learn from this and bounce back immediately," added the 32-year-old French skipper.
Toulouse burst out of the blocks and former All Black hooker Corey Flynn was on hand to touch down for a try in the seventh minute which was converted by his compatriot Luke McAlister.
However the hosts, showing more fight than they had done in conceding nine tries to Toulon last weekend, hit back almost immediately as their evergreen 38-year-old Fijian veteran Sireli Bobo went over for a five-pointer which was converted by Audy.
La Rochelle, though, were creaking whenever they came under pressure from Toulouse and they conceded a second try as Samoan lock Joe Tekori broke two tackles and just managed with his outstretched hand to touch it down on the line -- McAlister converted for 14-7 after just 17 minutes.
Audy reduced the deficit to just a point with two sweetly-struck penalties but the 29-year-old former Bayonne and Montauban scrum-half then missed a good opportunity to put the hosts into the lead as he sent a penalty wide of the posts on the half-hour mark.
McAlister, though, made no mistake a minute later to make it 17-13 but on the stroke of half-time Audy slotted over a penalty to leave the two sides just a point apart.
The second half was a highly entertaining affair, Audy giving the hosts an early lead at 19-17 with a penalty before McAlister replied with a try on his return to the team for a 22-19 lead.
However, the match really turned on its head when Flynn was sin-binned in the 56th minute for obstruction and La Rochelle scored 11 points in quick succession.
The outstanding Audy was at the heart of it, scoring two penalties and then creating the first of Alofa's two tries with a superbly judged kick into the try area where the 23-year-old former Aussie Rugby League star who switched codes to the NSW Waratahs caught it with an athletic leap and touched down.
McAlister reduced the deficit with a penalty but the hosts' tails were well and truly up and Alofa, born in New Zealand but who moved to Australia aged four with his family, rounded off a move that was started by the indefatigable Bobo inside his own 22.
Audy converted to great roars from the home crowd and they more than held their own in the final nine minutes to record a deserved victory.
Later, 2013 champions Castres finally got their first win of the season in a bonus-point 30-6 romp against Basques Bayonne.
English wing Marcel Garvey, full-back Julien Dumora and hooker Brice Mach scored the tries as South African scrum-half Rory Kockott knocked over three conversions and two penalties.
There were also first wins of the season for newly-promoted Lyon, 24-6 against 1997 European champions Brive, Grenoble, 37-23 victors over Bordeaux-Begles, and Oyonnax, who ran in four tries to stun Stade Francais 33-6.
Wing Yves Donguy scored a brace with Argentine fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta, who added two conversions and three penalties for a personal haul of 18 points, and New Zealander centre Roimata Hansell-Pune scoring a try each.
On Friday Montpellier had got the latest round of matches underway with a splendid 21-19 away victory over Clermont.