England lift women's Rugby World Cup trophy

Last updated 08:21 18/08/2014
Rachael Burford
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WORLD CUP WINNER: Rachael Burford.

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A scorching try from centre Emily Scarratt has helped England lift their first women's rugby World Cup title since 1994 in a 21-9 final victory over Canada.

England, beaten in the last three finals by New Zealand, had drawn 13-13 with the Canadians in the group stage - a result that helped push out the Black Ferns - but were more clinical this time around.

In front of a near-capacity crowd at the Stade Jean Bouin in west Paris overnight, England led 11-3 at the break through two Scarratt penalties and a try from full-back Danielle Waterman.

Magali Harvey kicked two more penalties to keep Canada, making their first appearance in a World Cup final, in contention, but Scarratt broke a tackle in front of the posts in the final minutes and cut behind Canada's defence to seal victory.

The Canadians, a young team dominated by seven-a-side specialists, ran everything they could, taking risks with poor quality ball in a bid to bring their flying wingers into play and break the rhythm of a better organised and more experienced England side.

But England, dominant up front, incisive in midfield and making fewer errors, rarely looked threatened, even though the ever-present Harvey came close to an interception try early in the first half.

''All credit to Canada, they were fantastic today, but this group of girls and this group of staff deserve everything that we have got because we have worked so hard for this,'' England captain Katy Mclean said.

''So many great legends that have gone before us haven't won in an England shirt and that was for all them that were here today and for all of the England rugby family.''

In the first half, after Scarratt's early penalties, England pressed and pressed, though they never quite dominated the determined Canadians the way they did Ireland in the semi-final.

First, scrum-half Natasha Hunt was denied a score by the video referee, grounding the ball inches from the line from a tapped penalty that followed a storming run by Katherine Merchant up the right wing.

Then, as the English women stretched the Maple Leafs defence from left to right, flanker Margaret Sanni-Alphonsi put Waterman into the corner for the first try of the match.

Two Harvey penalties either side of half time kept Canada in touch, the first coming after a rare foray into the England 22.

A third - from 45 metres - brought the Canadians within two points, but England replied immediately through Scarratt's boot to keep the underdogs on the rack as the final quarter got under way. Scarratt's converted try was the coup de grace.

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Earlier, hosts France beat Ireland 25-18 in the third place playoff and New Zealand finished fifth after thumping USA 55-5.

- Reuters

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