England hero Emily Scarratt has revealed that no stone was left unturned in transforming the Red Roses into Women’s Rugby World Cup winners for the first time in 20 years.
Having fallen at the final hurdle in 2002, 2006 and 2010, England were determined to put the record straight and the centre says they arrived in France better prepared than ever before.
"I was at the 2010 World Cup and this one felt very different,” Scarratt explained to Total Rugby. "I'm not sure whether that was because I was four years older and was more experienced etcetera, but it certainly felt different with the preparation we’d done, the general feeling within the squad and the physical state we’d got ourselves in – all of those kind of things.
"Our back room staff was amazing: the medical and strength and conditioning staff were unreal and I felt we were better prepared than ever. If it wasn’t going to be, it was never going to be a case of we hadn’t got everything right.”
With a hugely impressive goal kicking success rate of 77 per cent, as well as her ability to cut good lines in attack, on a personal level Scarratt got most things right in France and played an integral part in her team's World Cup win.
She finished the tournament as top points-scorer, with 70, and scored the try in the final that put England out of Canada’s reach. “I can’t really remember it (the try) to be honest with you, all I can remember is diving over the try line and wanting to throw the ball up and get realty excited but then getting mobbed by the rest of my teammates. It was really special," she said.
"It was probably a good time to score those points and get into the position we found ourselves in. I think at that point the point’s difference was perhaps enough, especially with the time left on the clock, and a few of us then started to believe it could happen.”
England legend Maggie Alphonsi is still pinching herself it did happen after having always been the bridesmaid and never the bride.
"I still can’t believe it when people actually say you’re a world champion,” said the back rower, whose appetite for work at the breakdown and in the tackle, even though she has now turned 30, continues to know no bounds.
"I've been working so hard for the last 11 years to fulfil my ambition to be a world champion and win a gold medal, so for all that hard work to finally pay off is amazing. I just feel over the moon right now.”