Australia will play arch-rivals New Zealand for the first women’s rugby gold medal in a mouth-watering Rio Olympics sevens final.
The world series champions set up the trans-Tasman clash with the Kiwi outfit courtesy of a dominant 17-5 semi-final victory over Canada at Deodoro Stadium on Monday.
The confident Aussie women used their superior pace and skill to run the third seeds off the park and never looked troubled in the swirling conditions.
“That was a world class performance,” coach Tim Walsh said.
“We will roll on with confidence.”
Emilee Cherry was the star with two tries, playmaker Charlotte Caslick impressed again and Chloe Dalton was prominent with her sideline gallops and precise kicking in the wind which flustered Canada on the restarts.
“We’ve been dreaming about this moment for a long time,” former touch footballer Cherry said.
“When I started the sport five years ago it was all leading up and building to this one game.”
Australia showed confidence from the outset in taking a penalty tap near their line, spinning the ball wide from a set move for Dalton to break free before Cherry scored in the other corner.
“We’re a fit team and we knew we had them on the ropes and we didn’t want to have regrets,” Walsh said.
Backline linchpin Cherry also put the exclamation mark on the first half by combining well with winger Emma Tonegato to cross after the siren for a 12-0 lead.
While Canada were helped by a string of penalties after the break, Dalton started and finished a length-of-the-field play midway through the second half to assure a place in the final.
Second seeds New Zealand were just as impressive by thumping Great Britain 25-7 in their semi-final, which saw the Brits reduced to five players when two yellow cards were issued before halftime.
Explosive winger Portia Woodman, the tournament’s leading tryscorer with nine, finished with a hat-trick and is the player Australia must contain to win gold on Monday night (Tuesday morning AEST).