Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder was dealt a double blow as Taulupe Faletau suffered a knee injury during the 24-20 Champions Cup defeat at Toulon.
A moment of individual brilliance from Toulon’s new France international Anthony Belleau atoned for Chris Ashton’s howler, which almost gifted Bath a notable away win.
Playing at fullback for the French giants, former England wing Ashton handed the visitors a try in the 62nd minute with a complete miskick from behind his posts, which allowed Jonathan Joseph to snap up the ball and score.
Rhys Priestland’s conversion made it 20-17 but Belleau, a 72nd-minute replacement for the injured Francois Trinh-Duc, put his side back in front with a kick-and-chase try from five metres out.
Wales and British & Irish Lions No. 8 Faletau injured his left knee at a ruck in front of his own posts when he was cleaned out in the 48th minute.
“I hope it’s not the same knee as he injured last season, but it doesn’t look good,” said Blackadder.
Having led for long periods of the match, Blackadder believes the experience will serve his side well for next weekend’s return fixture.
“We came here to do a job and when you put in so much effort, and the game was there for the taking, you are a little bit disappointed,” admitted Blackadder.
“But we will build on that and we will be better next week. This pool is going to be wide open.
“I am really proud of my guys. We came to play and we did. We created a lot of chances.
“We had a good game plan and we created opportunities. It was an outstanding effort and I’m really encouraged by it and feel really positive.
“There are plenty of encouraging things we can build on for next week. Everyone really stepped up and delivered.”