England’s Abby Dow enjoyed a watching brief as Twickenham threw open its doors to the public for a Red Roses open training session.
The 24-year-old from Slough is still recovering from the broken leg she suffered against Wales in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations in April.
Dow joined the 1000 fans in watching on as players were put through their paces in the baking sun, with the Wasps winger admiring her teammates’ skills from a different view.
“I actually just think the skillset that we have as a team, looking at it from the side, you can have an appreciation for it,” said Dow, Red Roses open training session with O2at Twickenham with one thousand fans in attendance.
“I just think it’s so good to see where we’ve come over the last couple of weeks, really working together as a team and seeing that bonding and the small communications and things really paying off in that sense.
“It’s quite nice to be able to relax and watch and just almost analyse it live because normally we only get it like the laptop when we watch it and it’s different seeing it from the side, which is quite nice.”
Dow was selected in England’s 37-player squad for pre-season training but is still unsure of a place in England’s squad of 32 for the World Cup which begins in New Zealand on 8 October.
And with selection on everyone’s minds, The Red Roses are set to take on fifth-ranked USA on 3 September at Sandy Park in Exeter, before facing familiar foes Wales on 14 September at Bristol’s Ashton Gate, heading to the venue for the first time.
England’s World Cup campaign begins on 8 October against Fiji, while they will also face 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations runners-up France and South Africa in Pool C.
Despite not being involved in full training, Dow has appreciated being included as part of the team during her rehabilitation.
She added: “I think it was quite lovely having the support, it could have been very easy that I could have almost been sent away to go and rehab and work hard and probably have been better at rehabbing.
“But not necessarily better for me as a player within this team. I think it’s vital that we’re with each other and we grow together.
“Because you can have some of the best players in the world, but if you don’t know how to work with each other and get on with each other, then we’re never actually going to be the best team in the world.”
Dow left England’s Six Nations squad not just a player down but without the self-appointed head of their crochet club.
Ironically, it means that lots of players had only completed the heads of their Easter bunnies, with Dow aiming to de-stress her teammates with some crafting.
And if she makes it onto the plane to New Zealand, she is hoping to make an army of crochet Kiwis to keep her occupied during the 30-hour journey.
“I might have made a crochet club just before I got injured,” Dow explains. “I think that’s one way that we tried to switch everyone off, but I think I made everyone stressed when they learnt crochet.
“What didn’t help, because we had to get a bus up to Scotland, and I was like, it is Easter coming up, so I tried to make this little bunny and I made it quickly.
“And everyone was like that is cool, can we try and make one and then they all got manipulated into trying to make this bunny.
“They got about a third of the way through maximum after the whole journey back from Scotland to England.
“We were thinking before I crocked it of seeing how many Kiwis, we can make on the plane journey over and raise money or something. I’m worried that the hooks won’t get through security.”
Between now and the plane taking off, Dow’s focus is on making sure she is on her way to New Zealand by hook or by crook.
Emily Scarratt, Helena Rowland, and Abigail Dow were talking at the Red Roses Open Training with O2 at Twickenham. Through O2’s partnership with England’s national teams, it has pledged to equally fund the men’s and women’s game. For more information on O2’s partnership visit https://www.englandrugby.com/about-rfu/rfu-partners/o2