The Scarlets wing sent a post out on Twitter and Instagram the day of the announcement, hitting out at “armchair fans getting into 70, 80, 90 cap players”, stressing that “form is temporary, class is permanent”.
The 12-cap Wales international told those to “get behind the team, instead of your keyboard with no profile photo”.
This is part of the #BeKind campaign, countering online abuse and trolling, which often happens behind anonymous accounts.
Wayne Pivac has made some selection decisions that have been contentious ahead of France’s visit to the Principality Stadium this Saturday in the Six Nations. However, this happens to be the most capped starting XV in Six Nations history, so while some fans may not be happy with the team, the players have history and a wealth of experience to justify their selection.
The 32-year-old James, who has been outspoken about his mental health battles throughout his career, has said that such comments “will affect some players and some will laugh it off”, but said that this should not come with the game.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 21, 2020
Of course, fans are entitled to their opinion, and social media is the platform in which they can voice it, however, a line is sometimes crossed, which is a growing concern as there is a lack of accountability behind what is put online.
Although selection decisions will always cause controversy, James has urged those who disagree to still get behind the team.
After losing their last match to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, a loss to France would all but end Wales’ hopes of retaining the Six Nations title, whilst it would put Fabien Galthié’s side in a commanding position to win their first Championship in ten years.
WATCH: England head coach Eddie Jones was forced to apologise after making a bizarre remark about racism that has invited renewed scrutiny of his England regime.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.