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'This was my first time receiving player of the match…it was a really special feeling'

By Rosie Galligan
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Rosie Galligan of England poses for a photograph with her Guinness 0.0 Player of the Match medal and members of the crowd after the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2024 match between England and Wales at Ashton Gate on March 30, 2024 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Can you believe we are into Fallow Week of the Six Nations already? The Easter bunny has been and gone and the Red Roses are back at Pennyhill Park for another three days of training.

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Last Saturday we took a trip down to the West Country to play in the second round of the Women’s Six Nations at Ashton Gate, the home of Bristol Bears. We were going head to head with the Welsh, who are renowned for their aggression, passion and pride.

Like any test week, we spent a lot of time prepping for the game. One thing we really emphasised was focusing on us. When it comes to big games it’s really easy to shift your attention onto the other team, but we wanted to ensure we were in the best place to execute our game plan.

Come the weekend, I started to feel a bit apprehensive about playing. You start to question yourself – am I ready, am I going to be fit enough, have I eaten/drank enough?

It was in the warm-up when I started moving around where those nerves started to diminish. I always try to find my family in the crowd (easy when your dad wants to get to the game an hour before kick-off!) so that I can look at them when singing the anthem.

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England Women's
46 - 10
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Wales Women's
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That is a feeling that will never get old, it’s so special. When the first whistle was blown, those nerves disappeared. Your mind shifts to the game – getting off the line in defence, carrying hard in attack and for me, being a nuisance in the line out.

And I think I did just that.. we managed to disrupt multiple lineouts, stopped their maul at source and put 46 points on them. It was a good day at the office for the forward pack. However, what made it even better was the 19,705 fans that filled the stadium. The eruption of the crowd when Abby Dow made her break down the wing was mesmerising. It made me envision what Twickenham Stadium could be like in 2025 with 80,000 spectators filling the home of England Rugby.

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It was a few minutes before the end of the game and we were waiting for Wales at a line out when I heard ‘Your player of the match is Rosie Galligan’. This was my first time receiving player of the match so I didn’t really know what to do.

Connie Powell turned around to me and said ‘There’s your boost of energy Rosie, keep going’ and I gave her a quick smile before getting back to business. It was a really special feeling. I’m not a standout player in terms of doing anything fancy, but I felt I did my role well, played a part in high-pressure moments and helped create opportunities. In the words of Saracens, we call it ‘the sh*t people don’t see – TSPDS.

Sunday was a very slow day. Having only played 40 minutes against Bristol for Saracens in the last 7 weeks, I definitely felt a bit worse for wear. I spent easter Monday chilling in the garden and sorting the house out before heading back into camp on Tuesday.

Heading into the gym I was still a bit sore, but it was good to get moving again. We are on a gym regeneration week, so it’s not about going for PBs on lifts, it’s about keeping ticking over and getting some volume-based exercises in. In terms of training, we don’t reduce our work rate and intensity of what we do things.

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John Mitchell lives by the saying ‘When we’re on, we’re on, when we’re off, we’re off’. The ‘off’ button came on Tuesday evening when we had a darts social.

All staff and players had personalised t-shirts with their darts name on and we had a knock-out tournament in our mini teams. There were some hilarious darts names – some which cannot be mentioned due to not being PG!

Mitch was wearing an orange mohawk and had a pillow stuffed up his top – he took his role extremely seriously… A big congratulations goes out to Sadia Kabeya and Tatyana Heard for winning the Red Roses Darts Night!

The next couple of weeks are about building. We want to continue to build into Scotland, then into Ireland and reach our peak for the final game in France which is always a huge contest. We have laid ourselves a really promising platform, so now it’s about fine-tuning the detail and building our confidence further.

As tournament favourites, I think that there is a bit of pressure on us as a squad. A lot of people think that we aren’t playing well if we don’t put lots of points down in the first 20 minutes. But actually, what we have to realise is that because of who we are, people want to come for us.

These teams are coming out and putting their all into that opening quarter so it’s about riding that wave and being patient. We don’t necessarily stress if we don’t have those big scores in the first half because we pride ourselves on being that 80-minute team and making sure we see the game out.

We believe in our processes and believe in the coaching staff/players to get the job done. Roll on Scotland!

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