Abby Dow feared she was destined to become the obligatory luckless casualty of England’s World Cup preparations as she lay on a stretcher at Gloucester stricken by a broken leg.
The wing suffered the horror injury against Wales at Kingsholm in April and when she was given an initial prognosis of nine months of rehabilitation, the 24-year-old Wasps finisher braced herself for the worst.
But the timeframe was reduced to six months, placing the World Cup back in the picture, and even that target is now beatable with a spot in the tournament opener against Fiji in Auckland on October 8 beckoning.
“I just remember being in that tunnel and my friends and family came down,” Dow said.
“I thought I was that person who didn’t make it. You always hear the horror stories of that person who was on form and then all of a sudden they get injured and miss out.
“We’ve been building for this event for five years and the thought of ‘it’s me’ was going through my head.
“I remember crying in my hospital bed as people broke the news to me that it was extremely unlikely.
“The surgery itself was quite a big surgery and the surgeon can’t say ‘you’re going to make it.’ You can’t tell until after the surgery.
“For the first two or three or months the million dollar question was ‘am I still on track to make it?’
“Almost having people say it was a possibility from it being unlikely to very likely and then to being selected has made it a very fortunate transition, but it’s not been good for my stress levels!”
𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗥𝘂𝗴𝗯𝘆 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗖𝘂𝗽 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭 𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗱 👊
The 32 #RedRoses heading to New Zealand 🌹
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 20, 2022
Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton said it was a “bigger gamble not to take her” when including Dow in his World Cup squad, believing the cutting edge she provides the team as essential.
“There is a slight plan in pencil that I could be available for the first game, but I also need to perform because this is a performance environment,” Dow said.
“I’m just really trying to transition out of that S&C part and actually growing as a rugby player, not just growing a leg!”