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'I won't make it back for the end of the season, I'm going to embrace the journey'

Rosie Galligan at Twickenham during the warm-up for England vs Ireland in the Women's Six Nations. Credit: Rosie Galligan/RFU

I went up to Manchester last week to have surgery on my thumb. You may be wondering why I went all the way to Manchester, but it was because I was seeing one of the top hand surgeons in the country. He’s actually the surgeon for one of the big orchestras – so he certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to repairing hands and is seen as one of the best.


It gave me good peace of mind knowing I was being looked after by the best specialists in the country for my injury, which turned out to be Bennett’s fracture.

I was the first person to be seen on Wednesday morning and after just over an hour in surgery I came out with two wires in my thumb to piece it together. I’ll be in a cast for the next couple of weeks, at the moment it’s a hard cast for a week and a half which will then be changed to a splint to allow for some movement and physio.

You can imagine with the weather getting warmer the hard cast is getting a bit sweaty on the hot days – so it’ll be much nicer to have the splint when the time comes, not only for comfort but also for hygiene reasons!

While I’m looking forward to getting started on my rehab as soon as possible, it’s also important to realise that it is a broken bone, and it needs time to heal properly. England have been really supportive, so I’ll follow what I’ve been told by them and then return to Saracens. I have to be realistic and sensible with it, I won’t make the end of the season now so I’m just going to embrace the journey and keep getting fit; I can still run so that’s a good thing!

Rosie Galligan thumb X-ray
My thumb X-ray featuring two new additions.

The hardest bit about it all was being pulled from the game, it was such an occasion and one that I had also missed out on the year before, so not being able to step onto the pitch to play in front of that massive crowd and all of my family who came to watch, I was absolutely gutted. I felt like I’d let everyone down. Since then, it’s been about coming to terms with it.


It was a freak accident that happened, and actually, I’m really fortunate that it is just one break and it can be fixed quite quickly; it’s not like I’m out for a particularly long time in the grand scheme of things. I’m embracing it now, it came at a good time in terms of being able to have some time off this week as have the rest of the squad after the tournament.

I’ve been able to escape from the rugby world for a week and go away on holiday and that’s been really good mentally. Once the rugby starts up again I think that’s when I’ll struggle with missing out on things.

I watched the Grand Slam in my living room at home and I must admit, I shed a tear during the anthem. You never want to miss out, be that through injury or selection decisions and it is always hard, but I knew that the girls would get the job done. I am so proud of them and I think they put in a really good performance.

It wasn’t always pretty, and we’ve spoken about how you have to win the game at three or four points against France to make sure you actually secure the win and they did that in the second half when France gave it a good go in spite of having that red card.


At the start it looked like we were in control, we had that first bit of dominance in the set piece and with our lineout maul, we got good metres in every one that we did. That was probably the difference at the start of the match was that England managed to stop the French maul so they didn’t get as much go forward.

Everything we’ve been working for has started to be pieced together and it was great to see that on the pitch. We spoke about short passing so watching Connie Powell give it to Alex Matthews for her try for example was really rewarding.

Spending so long in a competition environment starts to take its toll, and the second half of the final match was really about the survival of the fittest. The Red Roses were the ones who came out on top; if you look at the likes of Zoe Aldcroft, she literally puts her body on the line and gives it 110 per cent.

She looked absolutely exhausted but that’s what we’ll do to fight for each other. Our fitness is really important to us, we want to be the fittest team in the world, and we also want to make sure that fitness is mental toughness as well as physical fitness.


As Mitch [John Mitchell] has started to get to know us more throughout the tournament, he’s been great at picking up on cues for how we’re feeling mentally. There was one day where I walked in and I wasn’t smiling, and he said he could read me like a book and said I didn’t look myself, and in fact, I felt exhausted.

The coaches work really well together to get the best out of us, it’s not about running us into the ground for the final week, it was about keeping us ticking over and ready to give an optimum performance, which the girls definitely did in Bordeaux.

Achieving six Six Nations titles and three Grand Slams in a row is no mean feat; and with every victory, you can see a little snippet extra of what we’re getting better at. You always think each tournament win is your best one yet, but there’s always something to improve on and we always want to get better as individuals and as a team. We’re not happy being settled, we want to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and every week there was something different that we pushed towards and I think we got those results.

Personally, one of the learnings I’ve taken away from our first full competion with Mitch as head coach is that we have to trust the process. There’s reason and rationale for everything we do and the coaches and support staff have so many meetings to make sure we are the best in the world.

Trusting that process and backing yourself and your own ability is so important, it’s very easy to read into things like selection, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not valued, it just means that for that particular game, you might not be the right person for the job.

Because we are in one of the best setups in the world, we all know that we want to be there and if you’re not putting your all into it, there’s someone else that can come and take your shirt because of the incredible talent pool in the PWR. You can never take your place in the squad for granted, and that’s a huge motivation.

Speaking of the PWR, I couldn’t talk about last weekend without mentioning Saracens winning the Allianz Cup! I watched the final and it was really good to see the girls really bonding together, there were some tough times but you could see what they wanted to do and it’s that heart that they put on the pitch that carried them forward. You’ll put your body on the line for each other at Sarries and once you’re part of that family you know just how special it is.

To see Sonic [Sonia Green] off in style with some silverware was amazing, and the girls all had wigs like her hair and masks with her face on them when they were celebrating afterwards, so that must’ve been really special for her. She’s a massive part of the team, she basically is the face of a Saracen, so giving her the send-off she deserved was great to see.

I’m really looking forward to getting back to the club on Monday after the decompression week. For me, I’ll probably take a bit of a different role. I’ve been doing my level three coaching so I’m going to try and put that into action and help out with the forwards coaching side of things. I’m excited to challenge myself in a slightly different way with that while also working on my rehab.

The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 is coming to England. Register now here to be the first to hear about tickets.


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Tim 5 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

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