New Australia Captain, Rebecca Tavo working hard on and off the field

New Australia Captain, Rebecca Tavo working hard on and off the field

SHE'S not the most high profile of Australia's sporting captains but Rebecca Tavo may well be the hardest-working of them all. Tavo will lead the Australian women's rugby Sevens side into action for the first time at the Paradise Sevens tournament on the Coast this weekend as they prepare for their world series debut in Dubai a fortnight later. While the introduction of Sevens to the Olympics in 2016 means the women will join the men for three stops on the IRB world circuit this season, they are still far from full-time professionals.

SHE'S not the most high profile of Australia's sporting captains but Rebecca Tavo may well be the hardest-working of them all.

Tavo will lead the Australian women's rugby Sevens side into action for the first time at the Paradise Sevens tournament on the Coast this weekend as they prepare for their world series debut in Dubai a fortnight later.

While the introduction of Sevens to the Olympics in 2016 means the women will join the men for three stops on the IRB world circuit this season, they are still far from full-time professionals.

Tavo spends half her time training in Brisbane with the Queensland side in a bid to add to the world championship they won in 2009.

But the remainder of her time is spent across the country, driving an iron ore train for mining giant BHP Billiton at Port Headland.

Getting to training is a major mission - a 2 1/2-hour drive from the mining camp to Port Headland airport, a two-hour flight to Perth and then another four-hour flight to Brisbane.

Asked whether it was worth it, Tavo answered without hesitation.

''Hell yeah. We're so privileged (to represent Australia), we love it,'' she said. ''My job's two weeks on, two weeks off, so I've been able to try my hardest to fit a lot of sport in on those two weeks off. It's a lot harder but well worth it.''

While Tavo said she was ''shocked and overwhelmed'' to be named captain, she's honoured to lead the team out at Carrara, where they will face a stern test from the Paradise Sevens field.

With the Olympics looming and the Commonwealth Games Federation voting at the weekend to add women's Sevens to the men's program as an optional sport, the professional era looms.

And it's exciting for Tavo and her teammates.

''This year it's picked up already. We've got Dubai in December, then in March it's Hong Kong and Japan,'' she said of the stops on the IRB circuit. ''Over the next four years it's going to pick up.''