Women's Rugby World Cup: England win title after beating Canada
Last Updated: 18/08/14 8:31pm
England ended their wait for a second Women's Rugby World Cup crown with a 21-9 victory over Canada in the 2014 final in Paris.
After finishing as runners-up in the last three tournaments, Gary Street's side held their nerve to see off underdogs Canada and reclaim the title they first won in 1994.
Emily Scarratt inspired the victory, scoring a decisive solo try late in the game and kicking 11 points from the tee. Danielle Waterman grabbed the only other try of the contest.
Canada closed to within two points during the second half thanks to Magali Harvey's penalties, but Scarratt's late score killed off any threat of a comeback.
England fielded 11 survivors from the team that started the 2010 World Cup final against New Zealand, and the pain of that 13-10 loss had been a motivating factor for captain Katy Mclean and her players.
Waterman and prop Rochelle Clark were featuring in a World Cup final for the third time, a contrast to the starting XV of Canada, who making their first appearance in the showpiece fixture of women’s rugby.
England had slightly the better of a cagey opening and opened their account in the 10th minute when Scarratt sent over the first of three penalties.
Both teams were eager to move possession wide, and a dynamic counter-attack from England was barely contained when Canadian flanker Karen Paquin hauled down Kat Merchant.
England scrum-half Natasha Hunt went even closer five minutes later, darting to within inches of Canada's before she was also denied by Paquin.
England continued to pile on the pressure and a second Scarratt penalty doubled their advantage 15 minutes before half-time.
However, their efforts were not rewarded with a try until lock dummied through the defence to create the space which eventually allowed Waterman to cross the try-line in the corner.
Scarratt could not add the touchline conversion and England saw their lead cut to 11-3 at half-time when Harvey kicked a penalty on the stroke of the interval.
A second Harvey penalty four minutes after the restart gave England food for thought, and with Canada's scrum starting to exert a degree of dominance, Mclean's team came under extended pressure for the first time.
Harvey slotted over a third penalty from long range, cranking up the pressure and tension as the game moved into its closing quarter.
Even though England won a penalty soon after the restart and Scarratt restored their five-point lead, the trophy was not secured until the influential centre crossed the line herself in the closing minutes.
The 24-year-old took Mclean's pass before beating one tackler and running clear of two more on a brilliant dash to the line.Her conversion put England 12 points clear and broke Canada’s resistance once and for all.