One-trick ponies, they said. Only good for rolling mauls and beating up Australia's whipping boys, they giggled.
ACT Brumbies players were reminded of Australia's Kiwi debacle in recent years when they landed in Auckland on Thursday.
Tired and probably a bit grumpy after suffering late heartbreak against the Otago Highlanders and an outbreak of mumps, it fuelled the biggest upset of the season so far on Saturday night.
The Brumbies beat the Waikato Chiefs 26-14 in Hamilton despite having a player in the sin bin in the second half, announcing their arrival as genuine contenders this year.
It was their first win in Waikato territory since 2007 and the first win anywhere in New Zealand since 2014. Coach Dan McKellar hopes the result can give Australian rugby a dose of desperately-needed good news, urging his players to celebrate a "special night".
"I hope [it can be turning point in Australia]. I've spoken to the guys about bucking the trend and creating some positivity so people are talking about the good things in rugby union," McKellar said.
"There have been some comments since we've been here that the players have taken note of about Australian sides. We've probably quietened a few people.
"So many people within in our game get enjoyment out of bagging the game. To get some positivity ... from a Brumbies point of view we're obviously very happy and hopefully we can all move forward now."
Everything about the build up to the match suggested the Brumbies were walking into mission impossible.
Six players, two coaches and staff have been quarantined in recent weeks after being diagnosed with the mumps. Everyone else was sent for blood tests just to be cleared to travel.
Then there was the criticism about the way Brumbies used their rolling maul, and Australian teams losing their first seven matches against international opponents this year.
But these Brumbies are the real deal, full of grit and determination to prove people wrong in 2020.
"There's been a lot of chat about the mumps and it did have a massive impact last week," McKellar said.
"Everyone had to go and get blood tests this week so they could travel. It's certainly been a challenge. But that backs to the wall, true grit and resilience is something the Brumbies have always had."
The Brumbies raced to a 26-0 lead just after half-time after Pete Samu scored a double, Tom Banks got a lucky break to score the opener and Solomone Kata added another out wide.
It set the stage for a famous Brumbies win, but the Chiefs were always going to charge back into the contest and they scored two tries to make the visitors nervous.
James Slipper was sent to the sin bin and all of a sudden the match had a sense of deja vu after years of Kiwi dominance over all Australian sides.
But the Brumbies rallied and scrambled to save the match, withstanding wave after wave of attack and making some crucial plays to seal the result.
Connal McInerney, filling in for Wallaby hooker Folau Fainga'a made a crucial turnover with 11 minutes left.
Then his replacement, debutant Lachlan Lonergan, made an equally impressive strip just as the Chiefs mounted their final charge.
"I'm really proud of the boys ... it came from the fast start we had. We did well to hold them out there," said Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa.
"The boys were just holding on to that grudge from last week and the way we lost the game.
"At half-time it was about continuing to build. We spoke about them coming out hard ... they put pressure on us, but we did well to hold them."
Kata made his presence felt with some slick early touches and a Noah Lolesio offload to Slipper set up the first try.
Referee Ben Pickerill ruled Slipper juggled the ball backwards into Banks, who ran over for a perfect start to the game.
But the Chiefs were always going to hit back when they got an opportunity and Aaron Cruden bashed his way over the line to get his side on the board.
It was the start of the Chiefs' rumble. Slipper was sent to the sin bin for being offside and the Chiefs started gain the momentum.
The game started to open up and Anton Lienert-Brown barged over, cutting the gap to just 12 points with 25 minutes left.
The Chiefs continued to mount their challenge, banging away at the Brumbies' defensive line searching for a crack.
"I think around March 6, 2014 was the last time we won [in New Zealand]. It's good to get that monkey off the back," McKellar said.
"To come over here against a quality team and get the result on their turf is very pleasing. But we won't get too far ahead of ourselves.
"The wins away from home are always special because statistically it's been rare. We'll enjoy tonight, it's a step forward for a young group."
The Brumbies have now won three of their first four games and face the Japan Sunwolves on the road after a bye week.
AT A GLANCE
ACT BRUMBIES 26 (Pete Samu 2, Tom Banks, Solomone Kata tries; Noah Lolesio 3 conversions) bt WAIKATO CHIEFS 14 (Aaron Cruden, Anton Lienert-Brown tries; Damian McKenzie 2 conversions) at Hamilton on Saturday night. Referee: Ben Pickerill