Jamie George hailed Elliot Daly’s player of the match performance as the best first half he has ever seen in Saracens’ 48-28 win over Lyon. 

Daly scored a hat-trick of tries in just seven minutes and 20 seconds, the third fastest in the history of the Champions Cup, as Saracens sealed safe progression to the last 16. 

Further tries from Alex Lozowski, Marco Riccioni, Andy Christie and Ben Earl saw Saracens secure a comfortable bonus point win to put them in pole position for a home tie a week early. 

George, who was called into Steve Borthwick’s first England squad along with Daly, believes the 30-year-old utility back is playing his best rugby and deserves his chance to shine again. 

He said: “Elliot is incredible, he genuinely keeps getting better, he came in for a lot of criticism at times when playing for England, but it was just lunacy. 

“Nobody realised how good he was, and it is his all-round game that is absolutely amazing. 

“I don’t think I have seen a better individual half of rugby, I honestly can’t, he scored a hat-trick, kicked beautifully, kicked a 50:22, kicked to the corners for us, organised the attack, made line breaks and just made all the right decisions. 

“He is playing the best rugby of his life and I am very happy for him because he works incredibly hard to be in that position.” 

Sealing safe passage to the last 16 a week early and remaining unbeaten marks a successful return for the three-time champions after a two-year hiatus. 

George, who was captain for the day in place of the suspended Owen Farrell, was delighted with his side’s progress, but admitted letting Lyon back into the game after leading 38-7 was a little frustrating. 

“There are always going to be things we need to work on, we need to find a way to maintain pressure, especially when things are going well,” he added. 

“We let our foot off the gas which is disappointing, so there will be a lot of the discussions this week leading into Edinburgh. 

“But we have put ourselves in a really good position and there is one more to go in the group so all eyes on Edinburgh. 

“We have had such amazing history in this competition, and it means a huge amount to all of us and you can see it in Mark (McCall).

“It means a lot to him and that then feeds into the team, so we want to put our best foot forward, did we do that in patches? Yes, but the evolution of the team is going to be finding ways to keep the foot on the throat all the way.”