Argentina winger Santiago Cordero scored his second try in two games as Bordeaux-Begles moved up to third in the French Top 14 on Saturday with a 23-15 victory over Bayonne.
Cordero, 29, crossed after the break as France scrum-half and club captain Maxime Lucu kicked 13 points to send their side three points away from Stade Francais in second.
Lucu's side next head to South Africa's Sharks and welcome Gloucester in the Champions Cup over the next two weeks.
"We're just in January, there's five months left of the season, and after the Champions Cup we have two away games on the bounce," Lucu told reporters.
"We were in 11th place, we were in a sticky situation. We can't forget where we've come from," he added.
Bayonne drop down to sixth despite Namibia hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld's double as they looked for just their second away win of the season.
Lucu's Test team-mate Yoram Moefana started at inside centre days after Jonathan Danty was ruled out of the start of France's Six Nations title defence next month with a knee injury, opening the door for Moefana to claim the No. 12 shirt.
Moefana, 22, showed his quality after just 10 minutes as he opened his account for the season and following Lucu's conversion and earlier penalty goal Bordeaux-Begles led 10-0.
Their advantage was 13-3 at the break over the promoted visitors as Lucu followed ex-France fly-half Camille Lopez's shot at goal.
Cordero, who made the last of his 45 Pumas appearances in September and is likely to feature in this year's Rugby World Cup, made his contribution after 48 minutes bundling over in the corner before Lucu slotted the touchline extras.
Lucu, a stand-in for former World Rugby player of the year Antoine Dupont with France, added a 66th minute penalty before Van Jaarsveld claimed a consolation try with four minutes left.
Later, Castres' trip to in-form Stade Francais is the pick of the ties along with a re-run of the 2021 Top 14 and Champions Cup finals as La Rochelle, in fourth, host Toulouse, who are top of the table.
On Sunday, Racing 92 head south to champions Montpellier searching for their first victory since December 4.