New Zealand rugby journalist Gregor Paul has come out with a scathing assessment of Ireland's Johnny Sexton. Writing in the New Zealand Herald, Paul took the opportunity to cast some serious doubt over the IRB World Player of the Year nominee's ability to handle pressure when the heat is on.
Paul has a history of controversial opinions on topics such as Brian O'Driscoll, and he has now come out in response to the wave of World Rugby XV's, in particular the Telegraph's attempt which received so much attention in New Zealand.
Not only does Paul's XV not include any Irish man, his selection at the outhalf position takes the opportunity to cast some serious doubts over Sexton's big game management.
Did what Ireland's Johnny Sexton will probably never do -- and played two huge games against the All Blacks. This young man has no fear and all the skills to become world class. Sexton has all the skills, but no bottle when it counts.
That section is the entirety comment about the player selected instead of Jonny Sexton. It isn't immediately obvious who this player is based on that, just that Paul seems to have an agenda against Ireland's latest IRB player of the year nominee. As it happens, it's international rookie South African Handre Pollard, who didn't have the best of games in Dublin to say the least.
His selection only features three Northern Hemisphere players, while 7 Kiwis get in, with Jamie Roberts, Chris Robshaw and Jonny Gray are the only representatives from this side of the equator.
Paul's full team:
15. Israel Folau, (Australia), 14. Ben Smith (New Zealand), 13. Tevita Kuridrani (Australia), 12. Jamie Roberts (Wales), 11. Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10. Handre Pollard (South Africa), 9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 8. Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 6. Chris Robshaw (England), 5. Jonny Gray (Scotland), 4. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), 3 Ramiro Herrera (Argentina), 2. Dane Coles (New Zealand), 1. Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)
You can read the article here