England have banished the heartache of three successive Women's Rugby World Cup final losses with a hard-fought triumph in tonight's final over a battling Canadian side.
Having drawn 13-13 when they met in the pool stages of the competition, England and Canada came to the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris knowing there would be little to choose between them.
And so it proved, as final debutants Canada kept the pressure on the favourites throughout, before England finished with a flurry to secure a 21-9 win and lift the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.
It was a penalty kick from the boot of Emily Scarratt that handed England the early lead.
But try as they might, Canada's defence proved to be a tricky obstacle to overcome.
England doubled their lead with another penalty kick, but it was not until just after the half-hour mark that the first try of the final came.
Maggie Alphonsi sent full back Danielle Waterman, starting her third Rugby World Cup final, on her way to launch the England fans in the stands into raptures.
Canada had the final say of the half, with Magali Harvey's penalty making it 11-3 at the break.
The Canadians emerged from the tunnel with renewed confidence, and had just a two-point deficit after two Harvey penalties.
But they almost immediately conceded a penalty to allow Scarratt to restore a five-point cushion for England on the hour mark.
It was not until the final six minutes that England put the contest beyond doubt.
Scarratt glided through the Canadian defence to score a decisive try, which she converted for a 12-point lead.
The final whistle was too close for Canada to be able to respond.
"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," said jubilant England captain Katy McLean.
"So many great legends that have gone before us haven't won [a World Cup] in an England shirt and that was for all them that were here today and for all of the England rugby family."
England last won the tournament in 1994 with a 38-23 win over the United States.
New Zealand have won the last four World Cups, beating England in the finals of the last three.
But they failed to make it into the semi-finals for the first time in their history.
In the third place playoff, hosts France beat Ireland 25-18 in a tight affair.
New Zealand secured fifth with a 55-5 hammering of the United States, Australia claimed seventh by beating Wales 30-3, Spain thumped South Africa 36-0 to seal ninth, while Samoa finished 11th in the classification with a 31-0 win over Kazakhstan.
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