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'When I learnt about my injury, I just started crying. This was my time to step up.'

Rosie Galligan of England looks on during the Women's International match between England Red Roses and USA at Sandy Park on September 03, 2022 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Harry Trump - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Each round, throughout the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, RugbyPass will be speaking to England lock Rosie Galligan who is currently sidelined through injury.


Waiting to come on for your first international cap feels like an eternity. When you step over the whitewash, it goes by in seconds. Sarah Hunter (Sunter) was being replaced by me. As she started running over towards me, I remember her beaming smile and the big high five and hug she gave me, whilst telling me ‘You’ve got this’. Little did I know, she would go on to become England’s most capped player and I’d be a part of her retirement party after the opening round of the Six Nations in Newcastle.

Sunter epitomises what a Red Rose is, her leadership on and off the pitch and her want to bring out the best in you as a player. The way she went out on 141 caps and being able to do it at home is something she’ll be able to remember forever.

As a person she is one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met, it’s not all about rugby for her, it’s the bigger picture. Obviously, she wants to go out there every single day and fight for that shirt but she never thinks things are a given or will come her way.

After that Rugby World Cup final loss, the way she held herself and spoke to the media straight after shows the type of person she is. She knows we did everything possible to win that final. She told us she was ‘proud’, and we’d done everything we could to win but sport can be really cruel at times.

When we got back to the hotel that evening we went on a night out, we didn’t speak about rugby and celebrated everything we’d achieved. There was that one loss, but we had to acknowledge all the Six Nations wins we’d had, the record winning run we held, and reflect on how much we had achieved.

Marlie (Packer) has taken over the reins as England captain and I’m really excited for her. She’s a girl from Yeovil, she’s worked hard, made her way up, taken time out to do her plumbing when we weren’t professional athletes, and has made that seven shirt her own. We’re all really excited to see what Marlie can do as captain.


I think she’ll have a completely different leadership style to Sunter. Marlie is one of those people who will put her body on the line and her head in dark places, but she wants the best for people and does have a kind, caring nature about her as well. People might expect her to be like what she is on the pitch, but that’s probably why Mids (Simon Middleton, England Head Coach) has chosen her, she has a lot of experience and is a phenomenal player, but she is also an inspiring character.

At the minute, as we’re seeing changes in captain and four new caps coming in, a bit of consistency in the coaching staff has kept a steady foundation heading into the Six Nations. There will be people out there who think we should have had the changes before the tournament, but Mids knows all of us very well and it’s important that we make sure we get the best person in for the job and we’re not rushing it for the sake of it.

I’m very much about finding the right person for the job (for the new England Women’s Head Coach), regardless of gender, who they are, where they come from or the colour of their skin, I want it to be the best person to support us in winning trophies and winning the World Cup in 2025.

I think it definitely needs to come down to who is the most experienced and whether they work well with the girls. Having females around in some capacity helps as we do work differently to men in terms of emptions, support, how we learn and how we take in feedback, so having women in the set-up is good but in terms of the head coach I want it to be the best person for the job.


Having names on shirts for the first time in Newcastle is a step forward and I can only imagine how proud of a moment it was for the girls, knowing they’re representing their family whilst wearing a white shirt and a red rose on their chest.

I also noticed on the big screen at the game, when the teams were being announced, it displayed their social media handles. It is such a pivotal platform in people’s lives these days, it’s important that fans can go and follow players and their lives. For me from last year to this year’s Six Nations my followers have doubled and just shows the power of social media for us players and how we can use it as a tool to exploit and help us become brands at the end of the day.

I think social media is also important as we can show ourselves as human, show younger girls that we live a normal life, we go through hardships, we go through good days, and that wherever you come from, you can go on and achieve your dreams.

My recent injury has been a hard one to take. I had a full week of training and injured my hamstring just over a week before our first Six Nations game. I’d done the warmup and speed session and went into our first forwards drill when we had to dodge a pad, when my hamstring popped.

I fell down to the floor and could tell something wasn’t right. The physios came over and I wasn’t really in pain, I thought it was just a tweak which would take me out for a week or two, but I went for a scan and the next morning I had a call from the doctor and he said it wasn’t good news. I had to go into camp to get assessed and it wasn’t feeling too bad but when I went to a specialist, he said he could feel that my muscle wasn’t attached to my tendon and I was going to need surgery. It went from looking like a two-week injury to a three-month return.

When I learnt that I just started crying. I felt like this was my time to step up. The second row is very competitive, and Abbie Ward is pregnant at the moment and there’s a few injuries as well, and I’ve worked my way up into that lineout leadership group and unfortunately, it’s just one of those things which has come at a bad time for me.

Despite my injury, I’m going to stay involved with England in some capacity throughout the Six Nations, so when I come back I can hit the ground running. I’m excited to get under the knife and have my operation this week and get on the rehab train. I’m going to keep myself busy and set myself some goals over this period and come back in a better place than where I was before.

Rosie was speaking to RugbyPass’ Lucy Lomax.


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