Mike Phillips had the best riposte on becoming entangled in a Wales v Ireland off-field joust.
In his case it was on social media with the boyband One Direction’s Niall Horan, who, among other things, called Phillips “a right arrogant idiot” amid a Six Nations clash in Dublin in 2014.
Phillips’ response — “come down to training in the week, big boy. Bring the rest of The Beatles with you” — was a classic of its kind.
No-one should expect Dan Lydiate to indulge in such repartee with Stephen Ferris after the former Ireland flanker’s withering assessment of him this week.
For a start, it isn’t the Ospreys flanker’s style.
If he has exchanged hostilities with anyone during his 11-year Test career, someone ought to point us in the direction of the evidence.
The less than outspoken member of the mid-Wales farming community is a players’ player when it comes to matters on-field, someone who gets on with his job with a minimum of fuss. Those who know him will testify that there’s more chance of the sun not rising in the morning than there is of Lydiate publicly criticising someone.
But what to say of Ferris’ remarks ahead of the Wales v Ireland game in Cardiff on Sunday?
The Irishman said: “I’m not sure about Dan Lydiate to be honest, I think his best years are behind him and I wouldn’t have any bother saying that to his face.
“If he does start, if I was CJ Stander or Will Connors or whoever’s going to start in the back row, I’d be licking my lips to be honest with you.”
Anyone who has watched the Ospreys closely this season and last will be aware of the effort Lydiate has put in. When there’s been unglamorous work to do, perhaps stopping a big opposition ball carrier in his tracks with a dominant tackle, it’s been the big man who’s stepped forward to do it.
It’s hard to imagine anyone has worked harder for the region in that time.
The Ospreys Supporters’ Club duly made him their player of last season.
What’s his take, then, on Ferris’ comments?
“I haven’t seen that stuff, but I’m guessing it’s not good,” he laughed.
“Look, everyone has their own opinion. I don’t look what is said about me in the press. I just do me and that’s what I will do on Sunday.”
Barely a month ago, he told WalesOnline he thought he was a better player than he had been when named player of the Six Nations in 2012. Age eventually catches up with us —of course it does. But does he feel his best days are behind him, as Ferris has suggested?
“I like to think I’m a better player and that comes with experience,” said Lydiate. “You learn a lot about yourself, not only through winning but through losing, and where you can improve.
“It’s been a tough couple of years but it’s a challenge down at the Ospreys with the competition and the new coaching setup.
“All I can concentrate on is trying to be the best version of me — not trying to be anything else but me.
“Like I said, people will have their opinions. You know, if I was playing bad rugby, I wouldn’t have been selected. I’ve been given an opportunity and, you know, I have to do my speaking on the field.
“I’m not going to go after anyone who’s criticises me, because, like I said, everyone is allowed their opinion. I’m just going to go out there and just do what I do.”
Lydiate’s old back-row colleague Sam Warburton takes a different view from Ferris. He recently acclaimed the 33-year-old’s return to the national set-up as a “great call”, adding: “Not many have had the destructive ability in defence, which I think Wales have really needed.”
“I will have to give him that tenner,” joked Lydiate when told of Warburton’s remarks.
“You have to develop as a player but, at the same time, you have to keep working on your strengths.
“I know what I’m about as a player and I’ve been picked in this squad to bring what I bring and I will do that on Sunday.
“You’re always trying to improve all parts of your game. But I’m not the finished article and everyone is chasing that no matter what age you are.
“Everyone has the same goal.”
For sure, his team-mates are pleased to welcome back into the fold the man known as Sir Chop Tackle, and he is pleased to be back. Had he given up hope of a return?
“I don’t think you give up hope but you have to be realistic,” he said.
“It has been over two years since I have been involved in the national squad but I have been enjoying my rugby at the Ospreys. It has been a tough couple of years but this term we seemed to have turned the corner. To get another chance here is a massive bonus.”
Ireland will be a challenge in Cardiff on Sunday.
They routed Wales 32-9 earlier this season and will head for the Principality Stadium with confidence.
“We know each other quite well,” said Lydiate. “I’ve played against Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander. I haven’t played against Josh van der Flier yet, but I know these players: We played them like four times in club rugby last season, so we know each other off the pitch as well as on it.
“It’s always a step up to play international rugby and although we know each other quite well, you want to play against the best.
“When I started I always wanted to play against the best, to see where I was at and that hasn’t changed.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk