PARIS (AP) — England ended 16 years of heartbreak when it won the Women's Rugby World Cup by beating first-time finalist Canada 21-9 on Sunday.
England, the loser in the previous three finals to New Zealand, prevailed under the pressure as the heavy favorite at Stade Jean-Bouin by leading a breathless final all the way, and scoring the only two tries.
But Canada made England sweat for every point, and closed within two in the 58th minute from a third penalty by winger Magali Harvey, the world player of the year favorite.
Canada then conceded a penalty receiving the restart, and England center Emily Scarratt kicked the 42-meter penalty to restore a five-point lead and some breathing room. Scarratt then secured England the World Cup, 20 years after its first, with a brilliant solo try in the 73rd.
The teams drew 13-13 to finish the pool stage unbeaten last weekend, and England, with almost a dozen holdovers motivated by the 2010 final loss at Twickenham, took better care of the scoreboard this time.
Scarratt kicked two first-half penalties, and fullback Danielle Waterman was on the end of a brilliant team try which England started down the left flank and finished on the right.
Canada flanker Karen Quinn pulled off two try-saving tackles to keep her side in touch, and Harvey's first penalty with the last act of the half gave the underdogs another deserved morale boost, trailing 11-3.
As open and flowing as the first half was, the second was tight and nervy.
Harvey's old-style, toe-end kicking style lifted Canada to 11-9 behind, but the penalty conceded straight after hurt.
Not as much though as Scarratt's try out of the blue. From lineout ball on the 22, Scarratt received the ball and burst through her tormentor Mandy Marchak, fended off fullback Julianne Zussman, and angled in to put the result beyond doubt. For good measure, she also made the conversion, and six minutes later England could finally celebrate.
England 21 (Danielle Waterman, Emily Scarratt tries; Scarratt conversion, 3 penalties), Canada 9 (Magali Harvey 3 penalties). HT: 11-3