Women's Rugby World Cup: England win 'surreal' - Gary Street
England's 21-9 victory over Canada in the Women's Rugby World Cup final felt "surreal" and a "bit like a dream", said head coach Gary Street.
Centre Emily Scarratt scored 16 points as England, who had lost the last three finals, won in Paris to claim the title for the first time since 1994.
"I still can't quite believe we're world champions," said England vice-captain Sarah Hunter.
"We're just so proud of everyone involved," added Street.
"We've been on a long journey but to have that trophy makes it worthwhile. It's a pretty amazing feeling."
Full-back Danielle Waterman scored a first-half try and Scarratt crossed late on as England won the tournament for only the second time, having beaten the United States in the 1994 final.
"You dream about being an England captain and lifting the World Cup," said skipper Katy Mclean. "That's something I've just gone and done."
She added: "It's a team sport and you have such a bond within the group. I've never felt that as much as I have with this group of players and staff. Every single one is a world champion, it's amazing."
England had lost the last three finals to New Zealand - in 2002, 2006 and 2010 - but their experience proved decisive this time as they beat a Canada side playing in their first.
|Previous World Cup finals|
|1998||New Zealand||44-12||United States|
"It perhaps wasn't our best performance and it didn't quite click at times, but the true team showed that, when we're under pressure, we keep going, picking each other up off the floor," added Hunter.
"Our defence was simply outstanding."
Prime Minister David Cameron was among those paying tribute, tweeting: "Huge congratulations to England women on their first World Cup triumph in 20 years. Your country is so proud of you."
England's 2003 men's Rugby World Cup winners Jason Robinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Richard Hill also congratulated Street's side.
Former England captain Dallaglio called the team "inspirational", while ex-England back rower Richard Hill tweeted: "Congratulations ladies. A proud day. I'm sure Tuesday training sessions feel worth it now!"
England were in a strong position to win after two Scarratt penalties and Waterman's try put them 11-0 ahead after 31 minutes.
Canada's Magali Harvey kicked a penalty shortly before half-time and then another two after the break to make the score 11-9.
Even though Scarratt was successful with another penalty shortly afterwards, it was only when she scored a converted try in the closing minutes that England began to look safe.
Street added: "Huge credit to Canada as well. I thought that they were excellent and made it extremely tough for us."