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Rotuman Sports

From Fiji Times Online (7 March 2012)

Batibasaga, Tavo meet our rugby men

by Kameli Rakoko

FIJI WARRIORS rugby team members now touring Australia were in for a shock when a fair skinned Australian Women's Rugby player greeted them in the Nadroga dialect 'Cola Vina' at the Australian Institute of Sports.

Rebbecca Tavo (left) and Iliseva Batibasaga pose with members of the Fiji Warriors team at the Australian Institute of Sports last week.

A number of players in the Warriors team are from Nadroga.

The players were curious and immediately met up with the two Fijians in the Wallaroos team now preparing for the Hong Kong Sevens.

The Fiji boys then lined up for a group photo with Iliseva Batibasaga and Wallaroos skipper, also Fijian Tavo . . .

2009 World Cup Sevens winner Rebecca Tavo was last November named captain of the Australian Women's sevens team for the 2011/12 season.

The dual-international, who has represented Australia in touch-football for several seasons as well as featuring for Australia in the shortened form of the game, replaced long-serving skipper, and good friend, Cheryl Soon.

When Tavo was named skipper in November last year she was shocked and went as far as asking coach Chris Lane Australian Women's Sevens coach if he was sure he wanted her.

But she was proud to be given the chance having tasted her second World Cup success earlier in 2011, after featuring in the Aussie Women's touch-football side which claimed the number one crown in Edinburgh.

While achieving success in both codes, Tavo has chosen to switch her focus to the full-contact version of the game.

Australian Women's Sevens coach, Chris Lane, said Tavo was the perfect person for the job.

"She is an outstanding player who has the respect of all the girls and truly leads by example," Lane said.

"Rebecca is the ultimate professional.

"With her experience in Touch Football, and our new group having a fair amount of girls coming from there, she is the perfect person for the job.

"She has an amazing ability to translate touch-language into Rugby language."

Tavo has her roots in Rotuma in Fiji and rugby fans will be proud to know that two Fijian girls are in the champions Australian Women's sevens team.

Our national sevens team should not be surprised if the Australian Women's Sevens team are cheering for them in Hong Kong.

Two of our very own girls with Fijian rugby genes in their blood are there.