Pigtailed 'softies' tough enough to beat New Zealand
They may wear pigtails and ribbons in their hair, but don't question the mongrel of Australia's glamour women's rugby sevens side.
They threw pre-final barbs back in the face of Kiwi coach Sean Horan when they soaked up the pressure and returned fire on New Zealand's attempts to "bash them" out of the final at Deodoro Stadium.
Australian counterpart Tim Walsh was quick to put Horan's sledge that the Aussies didn't like contact and pressure on the whiteboard in their team room before the historic gold medal match.
Walsh's move had the desired effect as his side dominated every aspect of the final -particularly at the breakdown - to be emphatic 24-17 victors.
"It didn't worry me at all, but I did want to fire them up," Walsh said. "He's not the only one because there's a lot of teams that take us that way.
"But just because they're touch players and they wear ribbons and pigtails and sing songs does not mean they're not world-class rugby players and ruthless in defence, and they proved that to everybody."
Horan's comments after NZ's semi-final win over Great Britain weren't just a case of mind games as he reiterated the belief in the halftime huddle, telling his players to keep "bashing them, they don't like it".
Australia were up 12-5 at the time, but were able to seal the match soon after thanks to a ruck turnover deep in defence which sparked a breakout try to Ellia Green.
Although most of the team did not know how to tackle four years ago, they have embraced the physicality of the game and were the best defensive team on this year's world circuit.
"We love the physical battle and that played into our hands," said braided postergirl playmaker Charlotte Caslick.
Winger Emma Tonegato said it was almost disrespectful for Horan to put them down by questioning their ability to handle the tough stuff while former basketballer Chloe Dalton admitted it was a big motivator.
"We wanted to show that we're not a soft team," she said. "That showed today."