Alun Wyn Jones has come under extraordinary attack in South Africa after being named as British & Irish Lions captain for the 2021 tour.
Rugby journalist Mark Keohane wrote: “If the virtual Jones, the hologram, is something from the future, then Jones, the real thing, is something from a playing past that is far more glorious than the plodder who will lead the Lions into battle against the world champion Springboks.
“Jones, his 159 games making him the game’s most capped international, should be on pension.
His Six Nations performances are overhyped. He was picked on past glories and because of familiarity, having played a decade of Test rugby for Wales under (Warren)Gatland.
“The rallying cry from within the Lions rugby fraternity is that Gatland is fighting fire with fire, bringing beasts to the Republic to conquer the world champion Springboks. But I disagree.
“Gatland has picked hobbits to be giant slayers and he has far too many Neville Nobodies in his squad of 37.”
He added: “Respect for what he’s done but he is not in the top 10 locks in the world at the moment and he wouldn’t get in the Springboks squad.
“Ireland’s James Ryan and Scotland’s Jonny Gray are two locks younger and more destructive than Jones was in his prime. How Mr Gats?”