England are one of only two teams to have won a women’s Rugby World Cup more than once. Those two tournament victories came 20 years apart, as England emerged victorious in 1994 and 2014. The Red Roses have actually played in the last five RWC finals but tasted victory only once.
We take a look back at England’s Rugby World Cup story.
RWC debut: 6 April, 1991 v Spain at St Helen’s, Swansea
RWC appearances: Played 38 – Won 31, Drawn 1, Lost 6 – Points for 1,307, Points against 391 – Win ratio 82 per cent
Best finish: Champions, 1994, 2014
Qualification for RWC 2021: Runners-up at RWC 2017
Most memorable match: England’s players used the pain of defeat to the USA in the final of the inaugural Rugby World Cup as a motivation to improve. Three years later, in Scotland, the team put what they had learned into practice and beat the USA with a dominant forward display. England scored five tries to secure a 38-23 victory and their first Rugby World Cup title.
Iconic moment: England had lost three consecutive finals when they travelled to the Stade Jean Bouin for the RWC 2014 final against Canada. England’s nerves were calmed by a first-half Danielle Waterman try, but Magali Harvey chipped away at their lead with three penalties. Step forward Emily Scarratt, who scored a bulldozing individual try with less than seven minutes left, to confirm victory and end her country’s 20-year wait.
Low point: The stage appeared to be set for a home win at England 2010. In front of a sold-out Twickenham Stoop the hosts traded blows with New Zealand in an absorbing contest. The Black Ferns had three players sent to the sin-bin, playing with 13 women for three first-half minutes, but England were unable to turn territory into points. Both sides squandered shots at goal as New Zealand saw out a narrow 13-10 victory to claim a fourth title in a row.
Iconic player: Emily Scarratt. In a crowded field the centre, who has played in three Rugby World Cup finals, shades it. Scarratt scored the try that put the seal on England’s RWC 2014 final triumph, and finished that match with 16 points. Three years later, in Belfast, Scarratt kicked two conversions and two penalties as England lost 41-32 against New Zealand in the final. In 14 tournament appearances, the World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year 2019 has scored 131 points — just over 10 per cent of England’s Rugby World Cup total.
Did you know? England have competed in all eight women’s Rugby World Cups, and have made the final in all but one of those tournaments. The Red Roses were beaten 44-11 by New Zealand in the RWC 1998 semi-finals. England have won two of the seven finals they have contested.
Quote: “Coming home to a guard of honour at Twickenham, into a full room of press and press conference, being on the front page of all the newspapers, I just remember thinking, this is how it should be. Irrelevant of men’s sport, women’s sport, individual, team, actually we’ve just gone and won a World Cup and, rightly so, we should have this amount of coverage and exposure.” – Danielle Waterman on the reaction to England winning RWC 2014.