So many people disagree so violently with player ratings, it's almost as if the fact that disagreement is precisely the point. One man who has spent his life disagreeing with prevailing opinion is Stephen Jones of the Sunday Times.
On the 2009 Lions tour, for example, he was unsure of whether Paul O'Connell was the right choice as captain, and subsequently spent the tour writing that Nathan Hines and Simon Shaw should be selected in the second row ahead of the Irishman.
Despite this, we don't think Jones harbors a deep grudge toward Irish Rugby. Instead, we reckon he gets his kicks out of violently disagreeing with folk. (Unfortunately, Stephen Jones will not agree with this opinion, as he has blocked us on twitter. As he has everyone who has had the audacity to disagree with him).
While O'Connell got it from Jones on the '09 tour, we think that Johnny Sexton might be in for similar treatment from the welsh writer in 2017. Writing in yesterday's paper, Jones had this to say about Sexton's performance:
Johnny Sexton, however, is becoming a rather bizarre figure – he hits the deck after most contact with the opposition as if in pain, whether or not the contact is illegal or simply hard. Cian Healy wandered over at one stage and seemed to be suggesting that Sexton should get up. Like England, he was not himself, and yet the way this Irish team coped with all the adversity was stunning.
It appears that Jones believes that Sexton's being targetted is holding him back, with the audacity of going down for a minute to regain breath after being nailed by a twenty-stone flanker apparently holding him back. Jones awarded Sexton 6/10 in his player ratings, and added the following:
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.
Brian O'Driscoll called bullshit on it on twitter:
'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