Outspoken British rugby scribe Stephen Jones has taken aim at former All Black first-five Daniel Carter as he prepares to leave France for Japan.
The two-time World Cup winner is set to face Leinster in this weekend's European Champions Cup final in Spain, in what will be his last match for Racing 92 before he joins the Kobe Steelers in Japan.
Jones wrote a column for the Sunday Times under the headline 'Why Racing 92's Dan Carter is not the man'.
"Whisper it, but Carter has not been a runaway success for Racing. Decent yes, willing yes, but not dazzling at all," Jones wrote.
"It is also too easy to say that his marvellous approachability and example to youngsters has shone through, but he was convicted for drink-driving in Paris, an incident which caused Jacky Lorenzetti, Racing's owner, to finally lose patience with the player and bemoan the fact that Carter had added to his repertoire the one talent that he had not yet demonstrated throughout his outstanding career - the ability to enjoy a party.
"And whisper it even more quietly, but he may not even start in Bilbao. Pat Lambie, a Springbok, has been favoured lately at fly-half and insiders believe that he will also start in Bilbao, leaving Carter, in one of those needle-sharp witticisms for which Kiwis are not famous, 'riding the pine'."
He continues, saying Carter's reputation was helped by the immensely successful teams he played in.
"Carter was a great player for the All Blacks, but it is important to note the platform on which he played. It would be too much to say that your old grandmother could have played fly-half for the All Blacks, so dominant were they throughout two World Cups, and Carter was sublime at each end - in 2005 against the Lions and a decade later in the World Cup final - if inconsistent in between.
"It is a good few years since Carter has truly been in his pomp - in the 2005 series against the Lions, he appeared to be walking on water, and it probably took him until 2015 to regain those heights."