Brian O’Driscoll was quick to jump to the defence of Johnny Sexton after the out-half was strangely criticized in The Sunday Times.
After Ireland put in a fantastic performance to stop England from winning their second consecutive Grand Slam on Saturday, Stephen Jones was tasked with compiling a list of player ratings for The Sunday Times.
Although the Welsh journalist’s ratings were mostly fair, Jones did make a pretty outrageous statement when assessing the performance of Ireland’s Johnny Sexton.
Awarding the out-half with a mark of 6/10 for his showing in the Aviva, Jones went on to state that Sexton ‘often struggles’ and is only ‘potentially’ a great player.
The more he stays down, the more he will be targeted and it will be merciless in New Zealand. Potentially, a great player. Often struggles.
With Sexton now widely regarded as the best out-half in world rugby, Jones’ suggestion that the Leinster back was ‘potentially a great player’ was certainly bizarre.
In fact, the comment seemed so out of touch with the general perception of the 31-year-old’s ability that former Irish centre, Brian O’Driscoll, was quick to call out the author.
'Potentially a great player'?! He gets hit because he has the liathróidí (balls in Irish) to take the ball to the line creating space. pic.twitter.com/70k1kL5a9h
— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) March 20, 2017
According to Jones’ logic, players should be castigated if targeted by the opposition rather than praised for the ability which leads their opponents to attempt to take them out of the game. And as O’Driscoll rightly points out, Sexton is often targeted not because of how long he ‘stays down’ but due to how well he attacks the gain line.
Check out some more Twitter reaction to Jones’ bizarre Sexton comments below.
@BrianODriscoll Mr Jones of the Times I presume, calls him a 'bizarre figure' in the article too..pathethic
— Robert Bogue (@RobertWBogue) March 20, 2017
— Peter (@phaweir) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll Even as a proud Englishman, he would be my pick as the Lions captain. First name on the teamsheet.
— Danny Ingram (@DannyIngram1) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll that is the biggest load of shite I've ever read! He has a set the size of melons to keep going! Give him the lions 10 now!
— Chris Kerr (@Kerrso86) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll by this logic the lions should take nobody good incase it encourages NZ to target them.
— Roarz (@Roarzz) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll he didn't stay down either. At one stage he was cheaply hit late, got up and landed a huge penalty. That's just clueless.
— Noel O Keeffe (@keeffe_noel) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll He absolutely ran the show on Saturday
— Sir John Riley (@SirJohnRiley) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll twice the player Dan Biggar is. Sexton 10, Farrell 12 for the Lions
— Ryan Miller (@The_Don1988) March 20, 2017
@BrianODriscoll potentially is laughable! He'd stroll into that England number 10 slot with ease!
— andy hyland (@andypadge) March 20, 2017