As the Red Roses prepare for another Rugby World Cup final, we look back at how they took victory in 2014 after 20 years of heartbreak; England take on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday, with kick-off at 6.30am
By Megan Wellens
Last updated: 08/11/22 12:04pm
It’s been eight years since the Red Roses last tasted the glory of the Rugby World Cup, but a similar story to 2014 could be written on Saturday as England strive to lift the trophy again.
The storyline was easy to follow when England made it to the final in 2014: After a heartbreaking 13-10 loss to New Zealand on home soil four years earlier, the Red Roses had a point to prove when they faced Canada in Paris in the Stade Francais.
With so much at stake and so many nerves jingling, it came down to the handiwork of some star performers, plus the desire of everyone on that field, to secure the 21-9 win and take home the trophy.
Some similar faces from 2014 remain. The bright young light of Emily Scarratt MBE is now an experienced head on the pitch, while Marlie Packer is another hoping to secure a second World Cup winners medal.
England head to another World Cup final after losing the previous one to the Black Ferns, and that grief is combined with a new desire to end a Rugby World Cup drought. Next Saturday, the Red Roses may not have to think back to 2014.
But for now, we look at how England brought it home and ended a 20-year wait….
The Scarratt show
Before Scarratt was the household name of the England squad, she was the exciting young talent that tore it up on the international stage and in 2014 her star quality really shone.
After supplying the boot all afternoon, an inspired performance in Canada’s second half led England to a preliminary 14-9, the magnitude of the opportunity began to reach even the most experienced heads on that pitch.
However, with just seven minutes left and two points between the teams, Scarratt reached the center and found the gap, stepping past two defenders to sprint home and seal the win for her side.
Her 16 points that afternoon not only proved the difference for her side, but also firmly established her on her way to becoming the great she is today.
Alphonsi .’s class
While Scarratt is now firmly one of the greats of the women’s game, in 2014 another great was ready to lay the platform: Maggie Alphonsi.
Having tasted so much heartbreak in her 70 international performances, Alphonsi let nothing get in the way. She became an immovable object in the defensive line and dominated the ruck for most of the game.
Not only was she dominant in defense, she also had her hand on offense and provided the offload that sent Danielle Waterman sidelined for the first try of the game.
The way Alphonsi led by example and pushed the standards of physicality paved the way for others to follow.
After England’s overall win, she said she could be “really happy” and stepped out of the XV-a-side game after finally reaching the ultimate.
When the full-time whistle went off, there were tears, there was joy, but most of all, there was relief.
The Red Roses had finally done it and when the side rushed onto the pitch the pain of 2010 and the 16 years before that instantly disappeared – England were now at the top of the world.
Throughout the match, it was clear that there was only one goal in mind and that was to get the win, either way, and when they finally got it, they would celebrate.
“That group of girls and staff deserve everything we have today,” said Captain Katy Daley-McLean.
“We’ve worked so hard for this and there are so many great legends who have gone before us who haven’t won in an England shirt, and that’s for everyone here today.
“This is all about the English rugby family. It’s great.
“It started years ago with the people who brought us here, our family and friends. We had to work today – Canada was fantastic – and it’s great to think we did it.”