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Rosie Galligan: 'It will be exciting to see what kind of rugby John Mitchell wants to play'

(Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

As a squad, we were all really excited about the announcement of the new England coach. Simon Middleton has been in the game for a long time and having just fallen short at the World Cup I think now is the best time to rebuild for the next World Cup cycle.

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When we were told it was John Mitchell, I didn’t really know what to think. Having started rugby at the age of 16, I watched small bits of men’s rugby but wouldn’t have taken an invested interest in the coaching setup.

As soon as we heard it was Mitch, I got onto Google, spoke to my Dad and did my own research. His rugby CV speaks for itself, but I think the thing that stood out to me was everyone’s opinions that he’s a great guy, works hard and will tell you how it is – a trait that is so important in performance sport.

Mitch is currently busy preparing Japan for the World Cup. Although this probably isn’t the fresh start and introduction we would have wanted, you can see that he is already starting to implement and have discussions with staff members to ensure pre-season is exactly where it needs to be.

Having a new coach come in after Simon Middleton’s ten-year stint can be quite daunting for some players and personalities, but for me, I see it as a real opportunity to showcase myself on a level playing field.

Everyone will want to put their best foot forward and I don’t think anyone will be resting on their laurels. Mitch will form his own opinions and be able to build a squad with the characteristics he sees will make us the best Red Roses squad.

It will be exciting to see what kind of rugby he wants to play. Having come from the men’s game, I think there will be a lot of eye-opening moments. He is going to bring a completely different vision in some ways, with different drills and skills.

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On the flip side of that, I think we will also teach him a lot. Every male coach I have worked with who has transitioned from coaching men’s rugby has said that there is a huge difference in how they coach and communicate.

The main differences being more questions asked for understanding and needing to show empathy. Sarah Hunter has been appointed a role in the programme as Transition Coach and that will be really important in supporting Mitch to work with us, being that female voice and using her as a sounding board.

For the next few months, Louis Deacon has been handed the reins as the interim head coach. He’s a good guy and a good coach and he really knows his stuff, so we’re in good hands.

We meet up for the first time as an England squad at the end of July after a well-deserved break. My break is a little different to the girls who have been playing all season. I am now two months into my recovery and have about three weeks to go.

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It’s now just a case of continuing my running load and building my strength so that I can enjoy my holidays and hit the ground running as a fully fit player in pre-season.

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