WORLD Cup winner Kat Merchant says missing out to New Zealand four years ago makes her England triumph extra special.
The 28-year-old Worcester wing was part of the team that defeated Canada 21-9 to capture the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris on Sunday.
It was England’s first success in the tournament for 20 years and saw them go one better than 2010’s last-gasp 13-10 defeat to the Black Ferns on home soil.
Merchant, one of five Worcester players involved in the squad, said: “I still remember that feeling and there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by in the four years since when I didn’t reflect on it and it feels amazing to put that right.
“There are a few girls in the squad who have won it at the first attempt but a few of us have been to two and three world cups.
“It’s hard to say it would mean more but for me it does because I have been there before.
“Every training session and all those moments make you realise it was all worth it.
“I cried more winning it than I did losing it because I didn’t know what to do with myself as it’s what I have aimed for.”
Merchant, who grew up in Evesham and has played for Premiership Worcester since the age of 14, was joined in the squad by club mates Rochelle Clark, Ceri Large, Laura Keates and Heather Fisher.
She continued: “When I first started playing rugby I wanted to play for England and when I did that the sole goal was to win the biggest thing possible and that’s the world cup.
“I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.
“There are times when I’m quiet and I realise that I am a world champion but the impact that it’s had won’t hit for a long time.
“The support was fantastic but it wasn’t until we got back in England when we were on the front pages of newspapers that we realised how much support there was, so that was amazing to arrive back to.”