Australian great David Campese was slammed by current and former players after a tweet questioning whether women journalists should be writing about rugby.
Campese, Australia's record try-scorer famed for his goose-stepping runs on the wing, posted on Wednesday morning about Sydney Morning Herald journalist Georgina Robinson, who is covering Australia's current tour of Europe.
"Why does the smh get a girl to write about rugby. Growden who was a great journo and now we have someone who has no idea about the game!" he tweeted.
'Growden' is the newspaper's long-time rugby writer Greg Growden who recently took redundancy.
After coming under attack for his comment, Campese returned to Twitter but only landed himself in further hot water with his follow-up comment.
He explained: "I was trying to say is (if) the coach is under pressure sometimes males give it to the coach as some females go a lot easier on them."
Campese, who played 101 Tests and scored a then-record 64 tries, has since deleted the tweet. But not before an online backlash, including one from Wallaby flanker David Pocock, currently in Wales ahead of this weekend's Test.
"Really sad to see journos attacked based on their gender. Or a grown woman referred to as a 'girl'," Pocock said on Twitter.
Former league and union player Wendell Sailor also criticised the comment.
"Well good morning to u Campo & I have to say u are on ur own with this comment, it's 2012 champ," he tweeted.
Campese later responded: "Sometimes it is good to see some people react to (a) thing you say. Please relax and see the light side of life. All press are the same."