TAYLA Stanford will return home with a gold medal around her neck after starring in the Australian Girls Rugby Sevens campaign at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics.
The Australians annihilated Canada in the gold medal match with Stanford scoring a try in the 38-10 victory. The win capped off a remarkable few days which saw the Australians go undefeated through their seven matches.
Stanford was one of the shining lights for the Australian side who can lay claim to becoming the first nation to win a rugby sevens Olympic gold medal.
Throughout the tournament Stanford was a regular point of attack for the Australians, bagging two tries in the pool fixture against the USA, which the Australians comprehensively won 38-nil.
Following this match Stanford said she was delighted to score her opening try of the Youth Olympics.
"It didn't feel real to begin with, but then after I scored it I felt pretty hyped up and it got me through the rest of the game which was good," Stanford said.
"It was just really fun, I really enjoyed that game, it feels good scoring tries."
Playing as a forward for the Australians, the 18-year-old Cooma star proved she was just as capable in defence, earning the praise of the rugby sevens commentator who described her as one of the standout players of the Olympics.
After cruising through their pool matches the Australians once again flexed their muscle against the USA, trouncing their northern hemisphere rivals 31-0 in the semi-final.
A rematch with Canada beckoned and after a slow start the Australians showed why they were the Olympic favourites leading 12-5 at half time and running out winners 38-10.
Stanford opened the scoring in the second half capitalising on a Canadian turnover to race away and score under the posts. The Cooma rugby sensation set up Australia's first try of the match with a lovely pass resulting in Dom Du Toit running half the field to score her first of a hat-trick of tries.
Head coach of the Australian girls side, Tim Walsh, praised his players for their efforts. "This is a historic day for Women's Rugby Sevens in Australia and a window into the future of this sport," Walsh said.
"The talent and potential in this country is huge and the performance from these girls is both inspiring and proof of that fact.
"The preparation for this tournament shows the character of the program and the dedication from all its members."
Stanford who plays for the Jindabyne Miss Piggies has now joined the upper echelons of Australian sport as an Youth Olympic gold medallist.