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West Malling's Rosie Galligan sets sights on England women's senior rugby team after breaking into under-20 squad

By Craig Tucker

Rosie Galligan’s competitive streak has fired her to the top of the Women’s Premiership and a first England cap.

The 19-year-old, from West Malling, earned a call-up following her performances for league leaders Saracens this season.

And she didn’t disappoint, helping England to a first-ever international win in France at under-20 level.

Rosie Galligan has the taste for more after breaking into the England set-up Picture: Luc Laly
Rosie Galligan has the taste for more after breaking into the England set-up Picture: Luc Laly

They returned from Lille with a 27-20 success which was also their first win over the French – home or away – for seven years.

Galligan, who came through the youth system at Aylesford Bulls, suffered a knee injury but it didn’t take the shine off England’s upset win.

She said: “It was good. The atmosphere was great. The French were going absolutely crazy. They all had flags and stuff and you had a few English supporters you could see, which was nice.

“We played the Army team the week before and because of the way we won that game (44-0), the coaches did start to think we had a chance. So I think there was a bit of pressure but the real pressure will now come when we play France again at home on March 17.

“We had a bit of a rocky start, just because I don’t think any of us knew what to expect, but it was a good game, a physical game and it was nice to be involved.”

Galligan started playing for Aylesford aged 15 and was the sports captain at Maidstone Grammar School for Girls. She also played hockey and cricket at county standard but rugby is her main sport and she’s hoping to progress to the senior England side.

Women’s rugby is growing in popularity, with England reaching the last five World Cup finals and lifting the trophy in 2010. There’s never been a better time to be involved, with Galligan’s competitive edge fuelling her ambitions.

She said: “I’m competitive so I played a lot of county sport, like hockey and cricket.

“I was driven to get as far as I could in rugby but I didn’t think I could play at the top,
top level. But now that I’ve developed through the pathway, I’m hoping in a few years that aspiration will become a reality.

“Reaching the senior squad is just about hard work. You have to take your opportunity when it comes and keep working hard and keep playing in the Premiership. Hopefully, I’ll have another good game against France in a couple of weeks and get myself noticed and one day the senior call will come.

“Last year there were two girls that made it into the senior squad but they were in positions where the team were lacking. I’ve made the move to second row so that potentially I can get into the squad quicker.

“I can be more versatile so I can play back row and second row and it’s good to have a lot of skills under your belt.”

Galligan would like to thank Parkfoot Garage in West Malling for their sponsorship.

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