SYDNEY (Reuters) - Former Australia international David Campese has been pilloried by current and former Wallabies for suggesting a woman should not report on rugby for one of Australia's biggest newspapers.
Campese, 50, won 101 caps for his country as a fullback and winger in one of the sport's most glittering careers but has been almost as controversial a commentator since retirement as he was a great player before it.
His tweet, later deleted, was a comment on the Sydney Morning Herald's appointment of Georgina Robinson to replace their long-standing rugby correspondent Greg Growden, who took redundancy earlier this year.
"Why does the smh get a girl to write about rugby. Growden who was a great jornio and now we have someone who has no idea about the game!" he wrote.
The comment provoked a stormy response on Twitter with David Pocock, curent Wallabies flanker and sometime Australia captain, among those offering a withering retort.
"Really sad to see journos attacked based on their gender. Or a grown woman referred to as a 'girl' #destroyingthejoint," Pocock wrote.
Former Wallaby winger Wendell Sailor also chipped in.
"Well good morning to u Campo & I have to say r are on ur own with this comment it's 2012 champ," he tweeted.
Campese earlier this month called for Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to be sacked for "destroying" Australian rugby by failing to produce a team with the traditional attacking flair of the Wallabies.
Campese later attempted to clarify his Tweet.
"I was trying to say is that the coach is under pressure and sometimes males give it to the coach as some females go a lot easier on them," he wrote.
Pocock previously bucked the idea that rugby players are largely socially conservative when he and his partner Emma Palandri announced they would not be getting married until gay people in Australia enjoyed the same right.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty