Three-time European champions face their biggest threat to retaining their crown, and it's not from another team.
Last season, the LNR - the organisation that runs the French league changed the salary cap regulations. The changes will come into effect next April, but one big result of that is that Toulon will be in breach of the regulations - should they reach the Champions Cup final.
Toulon have managed to assemble their squad of galacticos through some loopholes in the old salary cap regulations. The new changes mean that players can only receive bonuses up to 40% of their salary. This had been a tool that French clubs have used to bring in the likes of Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, and Matt Giteau.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has confirmed that most of the Toulon squad receive 50% of their income in bonuses. Boudjellal is angry that the changes have happened so suddenly, and his current agreements with his players put him on the collision course with the LNR.
It could end up that Toulon will be forced to throw a Champions Cup game so that players don't earn too much in bonuses, as Boudjellal explains:
I can’t take the risk of seeing RCT qualifying for a final. This means that if the regulation is in place, RCT cannot play in semi finals this season.
European rugby needed something like this to stop the Toulon juggernaut.
Picture credit: Ben Evans/Pool/SPORTSFILE