Rosie Galligan interview: England using World Cup final agony as fire to triumph on home soil
Rosie Galligan found out how to turn the page on England’s World Cup final frustration – by filling up her first career scrapbook.
The Harlequins lock has a book with cutouts and keepsakes dating right back to the start of her rugby journey, when breaking through at age-group level with Kent.
The 24-year-old has a bag full of World Cup mementos to sort through, which will complete the rest of that scrapbook. Ordering all those milestones have helped Galligan to complete the process of moving on from England’s galling defeat by hosts New Zealand in the World Cup showpiece at the back-end of last year.
“I have my silver medal on a shelf at home, and I have a big bag of memorabilia from the World Cup,” Galligan told Standard Sport. “And I’ve also got a big scrapbook from when I started rugby, so I’m going to start adding in all my little bits from World Cup.
“I think it might actually take me to the end of my scrapbook, so I don’t actually think that would be a bad ending to then restart for what’s next. Looking at the book, I can go right back to playing my first game for Kent, then all the way to scoring three tries in a World Cup match against South Africa.
“There are obviously a few years between and a few different hairstyles as well, but it’s an incredible feeling and I don’t think I ever really thought that this would be what I would be doing. It’s lovely to be able to look back on that.”
The Red Roses set a world-record 30-match winning streak on the way to the World Cup final. Simon Middleton’s side were edged out 34-31 in an agonising final defeat at Auckland’s Eden Park in November.
Galligan admitted she needed time to come to terms with that loss on her return to England – but now sees that silver medal as a source of both pride and inspiration.
"When I first got home I was quite quiet about the World Cup, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to say,” she said. “But now looking back, I’ve only got three years now until the 2025 tournament, I can take that silver medal and use it as fire in my belly to go and get a gold medal now at a home World Cup. That’s how I’m looking at it now.
“So that’s about putting the performances in at the club, and hopefully getting involved in the Six Nations, and autumns, and then have a good run-up to the next World Cup hopefully.
“I think on that final day, things just went wrong. We weren’t a bad team, we were very well-prepared, just things happened on that day. We’ll use it as fire to go forward and still be the best team in the world, because that’s what I genuinely think we are.”
Harlequins will host Exeter in Saturday’s Premier 15s clash as part of the Big Game double-header with the men’s Premiership game at Twickenham.
The showpiece event had to be rearranged from December 27 due to a rail network strike. As the women’s rugby boom continues apace, Galligan insisted the sport can continue to entice new audiences.
“We have a different support base from the men’s game, and it’s a very family orientated experience,” said Galligan. “I think that’s a great way for us to inspire younger girls, through the family connection.
Rugby was the first sport where I fully felt myself and could be myself
“Rugby was the first sport where I fully felt myself and could be myself. The role models we have in women’s rugby around the world now, being able to showcase that across the globe, hopefully people can see this is a sport that allows you to be who you are.
“The Premier 15s standard is increasing all the time, it’s a great competition to play in and also to watch. The World Cup really helped the game kick on too, and that constant upward cycle is so exciting.
“I don’t think any of us really appreciated the depth of support for England until we got back. It was an incredible feeling to know we’d had an impact on the younger generation and the women’s game, and hopefully that can just continue now.”
Tickets for Harlequins’ Big Game 14 men’s and women’s double header against Exeter on Saturday are available at https://www.eticketing.co.uk/harlequins/