There is no bigger supporter of Elliot Daly’s England claims than his director of rugby Dai Young as Wasps recovered from last week’s heartbreaking defeat to Bath Rugby with aplomb.
Wasps had already put European giants Leinster and Toulon to the sword in Pool 5 – inarguably the Champions Cup’s toughest group – but Bath sneaked victory through Anthony Watson’s converted try at the Ricoh Arena.
The West Country outfit struck the early blow back at the Rec through Semesa Rokodoguni, but with new England coach Eddie Jones watching on, a typical Daly break got Wasps back on track.
From then on they cranked through the gears – Jimmy Gopperth had his finest showing in a Wasps shirt by collecting 23 points and Alapati Leiua crossed late on after Daly had showed off his repertoire with a drop-goal.
The 36-10 result saw Wasps streak six points clear of Toulon, who are in second on points difference over Bath, and Young was full of praise for Daly and the rest of his troops.
"Elliot just gets better and better," Young said. "We all know he can do the flashy bits and we all know he is exceptional, but he is doing the bread-and-butter stuff as well.
"He is doing the simple things really well, then he is adding icing on the cake with some of his special play.
"I thought he was fantastic in defence and his kicking out of hand was really good.
"For me, he is a cert in the England squad. There is a lot of competition for the actual starting XV, but he is a certainty in the squad, I believe.
"It was a real composed performance, especially after going 7-0 down. Our set-piece allowed us to play the game as we wanted to.”
In north London Chris Ashton could do little more to boost his chances of an England recall, notching up a hat-trick in Saracens’ 55-13 demolition of Oyonnax.
Saracens have gained 19 points out of a possible 20 in Pool 1 and will be a team to avoid in the knockouts, with Samuela Vunisa (2), Alex Goode, Mike Ellery and Jamie George joining Ashton over the line.
"Things are going well, we've scored a lot of tries in our last four matches and it's a huge challenge,” said director of rugby Mark McCall.
"I was really pleased with our second-half performance. The test was to put in a better performance than last week and I think we achieved this as we prepared well and never underestimate any opposition."
Aviva Premiership Rugby success was matched in the Challenge Cup as Sale Sharks completed a Castres double after a late flourish at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Having beaten Castres in France last week, Neil Briggs and Johnny Leota added late tries to Viliami Fihaki’s effort to complete an impressive 31-10 victory and put Sale in second place – on 13 points – in Pool 2.
Director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “I’m quite happy with where we are at. If you matched budget against budget we wouldn’t be on the same stratosphere as Castres but we’ve recorded successive wins in the competition over them.
"We’re in a good position in the group and we can now put Europe to bed for a few weeks.”
And Harlequins continued their march in the competition by racking up nine tries from nine different scorers in their 59-7 thumping of Rugby Calvisano.
The result was never in doubt and to crown a perfect day for the Londoners, who have maximum points in Pool 3, Wales centre Jamie Roberts crossed on debut.
Saracens 55 Oyonnax 13
Tries: Ashton 3, Vunisa 2, Goode, Ellery, George
Conversions: Farrell 4, Hodgson 2
Penalties: Lespinas 2
Bath Rugby 10 Wasps 36
Tries: Daly, Gopperth, Leiua
Conversions: Gopperth 3
Penalties: Gopperth 4
Sale Sharks 31 Castres 10
Tries: Fihaki, Briggs, Leota
Conversions: Ford, Cipriani
Penalties: Ford 3, Cipriani
Harlequins 59 Rugby Calvisano 7
Tries: Yarde, Sinckler, Clifford, Chisholm, Roberts, Walker, Botica, Swiel, Dickson
Conversions: Botica 7