Rio Olympics 2016: Melodie Robinson: I'm picking Zealand women's sevens team to win gold

This morning's Rio gold medal sevens confrontation between Australia and New Zealand will be a major contrast in playing styles.

In the past two years, the Aussies have ended New Zealand's domination of women's sevens rugby by swapping to a fast-paced game where they seek to avoid physical confrontation.

It has been a recipe for success and New Zealand must stop the rot at 10am today.

I'm picking New Zealand to win gold.

Australia haven't been perfect, losing two tournaments this year and drawing 12-all with the United States in a pool game in Rio. Plus their players tend to get better the longer they play - fit, small jack rabbits who use the space expertly.

But fitness might not be as critical with just two games a day instead of three.

For that reason, New Zealand have selected quite a different style of athlete to the Aussies.

Portia Woodman, Niall Williams, Kayla McAlister, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Shakira Baker are all big power players. They are the type who can run around and through players or offload in the tackle. Then there's the creativity of Gayle Broughton and Kelly Brazier.

This team can use the space or take it up the middle. The key will be if they can combine the different tactics effectively and accurately.

Finally, there's one other important internal step the Kiwis need to take to win gold. The Aussies are super competitive, as all Aussies are.

Even though they wear ribbons in their hair and look like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, they are also controlled mongrels on the field with an incredible self-belief. For New Zealand to beat them, they need to have even more self-belief.

They can take a leaf out of the book the Black Ferns of 1998-2006 subscribed to. Treat the opposition as the enemy, know you come from a country that is the best in the world at rugby, be unafraid and shoot to kill.

The Black Ferns teams I was in were probably considered arrogant by other nations. But we won everything, and if the "Sevens Sistas" leave the niceties on the sideline this morning, they may upset the favourites and make history.

• Melodie Robinson is a former New Zealand women's rugby representative.

- NZ Herald

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