24 February 2020

Rosie Galligan talks exclusively on the heartache of missing out on England's Six Nations triumph over Ireland

For one person, watching this weekend's England v Ireland Six Nations clash made painful viewing.

Rosie Galligan, who made her international debut in the same match last year, watched the girls run out onto the pitch while she sat at home with her foot up in the air as she recovers from the serious ankle injury she sustained while playing for Sacarens this season.

The 21-year-old was working her way back to peak physical fitness after a life-threatening bout of meningitis in late September.

Having battled through and returned to the Saracens line-up she admits she had an eye on an International call up.

"It had been in the back of my mind," she said. "I was hoping to put my all in at Worcester [where she sustained her ankle injury] and prove I could be back at that level."

She had only been on the pitch for two minutes before disaster struck and she fell to the ground in a line-out shattering her ankle.

Rosie had only been on the pitch two minutes before her shattering injury

"I was gutted because I’d obviously just come back from an illness and was on the mend," she said.

"There have been a few injuries [in the England squad] so I was trying my hardest to get in there and get my fitness up. Instead I've had to watch it from home with my foot up in the air for 55 minutes of each hour.

"Luckily my housemate brings me cups of tea and Hobnobs, but I do feel like a burden sometimes.

"There's always next year," she added optimistically, "and there's a World Cup too. So I'm just writing off this season and going to focus on that."

The young rugby player underwent surgery and was just returning from having her cast removed and a 'moon boot' fitted when she spoke to Newschain about how the impact of a major injury is more than just physical.

Rosie underwent an operation two weeks ago to fix the major ankle injuries

For Galligan, who is studying sports management at St Mary’s University, her student loan gives her something to fall back on while she is out of action, but she admits that there are still worries.

"Obviously women's rugby is not professional," she said.

"I could be at a stage that I am struggling more than if it was a full salary job where you’re getting paid when you’re injured and you don’t have to worry about that bit while you recover.

"It can be a lot more difficult knowing that I either need to find a job where I don’t move around as much or somehow fund it."

She considers herself extremely fortunate to be supported by Saracens, who are one of only two teams, alongside Worcester Warriors, that offer female players a match fee.

"Saracens have been fantastic at investing in women," she said.

"The first team gets a match fee and that’s a really huge step for women's rugby in general.

"They have built up a strong relationship with the women and we are in a good place for that monetary element," she added.

She urged other clubs to follow suit in order for the game to grow, adding: "it needs to be all across the board for men’s teams to invest into the women’s game in the same way Saracens does.

"Something needs to be done to be able to introduce more money into the women’s game.

"Club rugby could really excel or it could just stay stagnant. Honestly none of us know but I like to think it will continue to grow and if they get funding through the clubs I’m sure they’ll sell out Twickenham one day.”

Galligan made her international debut against Ireland in last year's Six Nations

Galligan was at pains to point out the unwavering support of her club through physio and psychological help.

"The club have been amazing. I've been talking to the physio every day and she’s been coming to my house to give me extra treatment and look after me and helped me get back on the mend. 

"I’ll see her five times a week now and also see the men’s physio as well and get extra treatment from him which is just amazing.

"I couldn't do it without them and I hope other teams can develop the same one club ethos."

Rosie pictured alongside Saracens' winger Alex Lewington (Saracens)

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox