KATY Mclean paid tribute to her family and friends after lifting the Women’s World Cup for England last night.
The South Shields-born star skippered England to the trophy with victory over Canada in Paris.
England’s 21-9 success was secured by 16 points from centre Emily Scarratt, including a superb late solo touchdown, and a try by full-back Danielle Waterman.
It secured a first world title since 1994 and ended a run of three successive World Cup final defeats, all against New Zealand.
Mclean, 28 got into rugby through her dad, David, who played for Westoe.
She had been vice-captain four years ago when England lost at Twickenham Stoop, but took pride of place on the rostrum as she lifted the trophy.
“That group of girls and staff deserve everything we’ve got today,” she said.
“We’ve worked so hard for this, and there are so many great legends that have gone before us that haven’t won in an England shirt, and that’s for all of them who are here today.
“This is all about the England rugby family. It’s amazing.
“It started years ago with the people that have brought us here, our family and friends. We’ve had to work – Canada were fantastic – and it’s amazing to think we’ve done it.”
Mclean also hailed match-winner Scarratt as “a phenomenal player” after the centre’s stunning individual display.
“She’s a phenomenal player, world-class, and world-class players do the world-class things,” added Mclean, a reception class teacher at Bexhill Academy, in Sunderland.
“She absolutely delivered for England.”
Tributes quickly flowed to the England side, whose triumph comes 11 years after the men’s team were crowned world champions following a dramatic victory over Australia in Sydney.
Minister for Sport Helen Grant said: “Congratulations to the fantastic England women’s rugby team and all their support staff on becoming world champions. They have made the nation proud.
“I am sure they have inspired many women and girls to get involved in the sport, and I know the RFU (Rugby Football Union) will be working hard to build on this success.”
England head coach Gary Street admitted it was “a huge relief” to have captured the trophy following three losses in finals from 2002 to 2010.
“It feels a bit like a dream,” he said. “It’s quite surreal, and I think I will wake up in a minute!
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling, and I am just so proud of everyone involved. It’s a really special group. We’ve been on a long journey, but to have that trophy makes it worthwhile.
“The support we’ve had has been amazing, and it’s a huge relief to be able to deliver.
“Huge credit to Canada as well. I thought that they were excellent and made it extremely tough for us.”