How Rosie Galligan defied huge odds to call England back three years after last international cap

“Rosie went from being mildly unwell to being rushed to an ambulance that couldn’t move her legs within 24 hours.”

“A lot of people said I wouldn’t resign on a rugby pitch. It only makes it cuter”

When she started throwing up and couldn’t walk, Rosie Galligan had more worries than playing rugby for England again.

She was hospitalized, diagnosed meningitis and battled a potentially life-threatening infection alone in a room for 10 days.

Seven weeks later, Galligan was back playing sports only to fall in a row, tearing three ligaments, fracturing a bone in her leg and crushing her ankle.

Once again, her biggest concern was not contributing to the first international, which she won off the bench against Ireland in 2019.

But she never gave up on that dream and today, more than three years later, the Harlequins start their country’s second line as England begin their Six Nations title defense in Scotland.

“Hellova Story,” said team principal Simon Middleton. “She came back with the attitude, ‘I have a chance, I’ll take it.’ She did that incredibly well.”

Galligan on the ball in training


The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Unlike the men, England are the dominant force in women’s rugby, world no.

They lost 99 points in two games against world champions New Zealand in the autumn and at the moment only France seem capable of giving them a game.

That Galligan, 23, has pushed her way back into this company after such a long time speaks volumes for her.

Emily Scarratt returns to the England team for the first time since breaking her leg


The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

“A lot of people said I wouldn’t step on a rugby pitch or play any sport because my ankle was so heavy,” she said. “It just makes it cuter.”

Surgeons used four pins, a framework and a plate to rebuild her ankle. The rest was up to her.

“Rosie has an incredible attitude,” said older brother Henry, who was inspired by his sister to face a year of challenges to raise funds for Meningitis Now.

England head coach Simon Middleton gives instructions to his players during training


Charles McQuillan)

“She became a little unwell within 24 hours and couldn’t move her legs into an ambulance.

“The doctor said something like if the diagnosis had been a few days later she could have lost all movement in her legs.

“She was in a lot of pain. For most of those 10 days in the hospital, she was unable to go to the toilet unaided.

Scarratt and Sarah Hunter lifted the Six Nations Cup for England a year ago


(Getty Images)

“It was a really, really scary time but she was given excellent care at Maidstone Hospital to come out the other side.”

With the World Cup being postponed from last year and finally set to start in New Zealand in October, Middleton plans to rotate his squad in the first three rounds.

It means Galligan isn’t guaranteed anything beyond today. But don’t worry about her. She has long since learned to take care of herself.

To support Henry Galligans Project Mandarin Attend a meningitis fundraiser How Rosie Galligan defied huge odds to call England back three years after last international cap

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