Elliot Daly was cast for the Saracens, who scored a hat-trick in their 48-28 win over Lyon in the Champions Cup at StoneX Stadium on Saturday.
Alex Lozowski, Marco Riccioni, Andy Christie and Ben Earl joined Daly as the team’s other test scorers, while Alex Goode scored 13 points.
The result sealed the Saracens’ progress to the Champions Cup Round of 16 with a spare game as they sent Lyon off for their third consecutive defeat.
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Without the suspended Owen Farrell, the Saracens were brutally at their best, scoring the tryout bonus points after just 24 minutes when Daly made his third try of the night, just eight minutes after the first.
In the first half, the home team had six attempts and were leading 38-14 thanks to additional scores from Lozowski, Riccioni and Christie.
They didn’t quite reach the same intensity levels in the second half and Lyon got their own bonus points through the Ethan Dumortier duo, leaving themselves a small chance to qualify.
The French side initially seemed to have settled on a game they desperately needed to win to have any chance of advancing to the qualifying stages, but they quickly found themselves behind when Lozowski picked Fletcher Smith’s pass and ran away.
Just six minutes later, Daly made his first attempts for the evening, knitting in and out and walking away, rolling a desperate Dumortier to give the Saracens a 14-0 lead.
The third and fourth tries for the Saracens came 20 and 24 minutes later, respectively, with Daly finishing a simple pass for his second before a first-class finish in the same corner to seal his fast hat-trick.
Lyon had barely punched, but with Josia Maraku’s hit attempt, they got themselves on the board.
Still, the Saracens hit back right away as Italy prop Riccioni passed for the fifth try before Christie scored a similar close-range goal to increase the lead to 31 points.
Dumortier finished the half by attempting the right corner to give Lyon a little hope of their return to the game, but the Saracens’ dominance was there for all to see on the scoreboard.
Dumortier and Daly seemed to be in a rivalry where the full-back could make a better attempt as they freed up their chip and chase to close the lead 38-21 in just three minutes of the second half.
Lyon lifted their tails and after a fantastic drain after a momentary Fijian from Josua Tuisova, Arno Botha took Lyon’s bonus point and closed the lead to just 13 points with 24 minutes left.
The 2022 Competition Cup winners kept coming, but the Saracens had an answer at a time, and their defenses ensured victory was never truly in doubt.
Finishing another impressive European performance this season, Earl rallied after a driving blow to ensure the Saracens can celebrate a safe transition to the next stage.
Ospreys take unforgettable win against Montpellier
Elsewhere, the Ospreys finished a famous duo against Montpellier with a 35-29 hit that kept Champions Cup hopes alive.
Bek Cai Evans’ goal kick proved decisive as Wales took a big step forward towards the qualifying stages.
The Ospreys were trailing four-on-five tries, but Evans managed with three penalties and three conversions, leaving the Ospreys with 10 points in Pool B and a game at Leicester.
Alex Cuthbert had two tries for the Ospreys, the others Justin Tipuric and Morgan Morris but Montpellier were the unlucky losers on a great night of rugby.
Paul Willemse also crossed twice for the French champion with Bastien Chalureau, Thomas Darmon and Cobus Reinach on the score sheet. Leo Coly and Anthony Bouthier added a transformation.
A full-powered Montpellier got a faster start, but Louis Carbonel was unable to reward his efforts as he missed a 40-metre penalty.
The Ospreys then took a big hit when half-and-half Rhys Webb left the field after being shaken by a massive tackle.
The fight exemplified the first quarter, an intense physical event where defenses were firmly at their peak, so it came as no surprise when it finished goalless.
Three minutes later, however, the first attempt came when Cuthbert had forcibly finished the pressure that had lasted for a while.
When Captain Willemse struck at close range, Montpellier soon responded with a try of its own. However, Carbonel strayed again, this time with a simple conversion attempt.
Evans extended his lead with Owen Williams’ high handling by Montpellier hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, and Evans did not fault the resulting penalty.
Montpellier was leveled when Willemse showed great strength to snatch his second try. There was a hint of double action, but officials rewarded the attempt. Coly took over the kicking duties, but he wasn’t able to take over the transformation either.
Evans then took his second penalty to the Ospreys, showing his team how this should be done by taking a 13-10 lead in the range.
Three minutes after the restart, Evans succeeded with another three-pointer, but Montpellier took the lead for the first time as Chalureau crossed over after his home defense was softened by a series of strong forwards. Coly was converted from the front of the pillars.
The game was decidedly competitive and balanced but the Ospreys made the best move of the game to reclaim the lead, with Cuthbert running strong to finish the game for his second try.
Evans had five successes out of five with a touchline conversion to give the Ospreys a 23-17 advantage as they entered the final quarter.
Montpellier didn’t reach out, and their excellent control skills allowed them to try bonus points for their third hitters, Bouthier and Darmon, who smashed the touchline transformation.
The Ospreys brought in George North for his first appearance since suffering a facial injury against Leicester in mid-December, and when Keelan Giles took the lead for the irrepressible Tipuric to win the touchdown race, it was just time for his side to regain the lead.
Reserve Reinach sneaked in for Montpellier’s fifth attempt to get a perfect break from Carbonel and keep his side in contention, but Bouthier missed the extra points that would put the visitor ahead 31-30.
And the hosts secured the win as Morris scored the critical bonus point attempt with two minutes left in the game.
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Champions Cup: Elliot Daly’s hat-trick passing Saracens over Lyon, Osprey’s unforgettable claim to victory over Montpellier first appeared on Planetrugby.com.