Women's Rugby World Cup final: England players' messages

England's women beat Canada 21-9 in the World Cup final on Sunday, having lost the last three in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

To get there England outclassed Ireland in Paris 40-7 in the semi-final.

BBC Sport has asked retired players from the previous three World Cups to share memories.

CATHERINE SPENCER - CAPTAIN 2010 (England lost 13-10 to New Zealand)

"The memories of losing the World Cup Final in 2010 in a match that we should have won are still very raw - even four years on. I will never get over it and even now I still go over and over the match in my mind, willing history to change. I will, however, describe one of my favourite moments of that day.

"We walked out of the tunnel at the Stoop in front of a packed stadium. After the anthems it was time to face the famous New Zealand Haka. Before they began the home crowd started singing Swing Low and continued through to the end. The Black Ferns struggled to get the noise of their Haka above that of the crowd.

Catherine Spencer

Even now I still go over and over the match in my mind, willing history to change - Catherine Spencer

"I was stood between prop Sophie Hemming and flanker Maggie Alphonsi  - two of my great friends. Maggie was also belting out Swing Low as loud as she could but as captain I was always questioning what was appropriate.

"My head was telling me that we should stand there and quietly respect and face the Haka but my heart was telling me that this would never happen again.

"I listened to my heart and I enjoyed and soaked up every single second - the atmosphere of the crowd, the sight and sound of the Haka in the distance, the closeness of the team bound together, the emotion of my team-mates.

"As I will never forget the final few seconds of the final, the pain of having to hold it together to speak to the press after the final whistle, so too will I never forget the most special of moments - facing the Haka with the incredible sound of Swing Low being sung with such emotion by the crowd and team-mates."

JO YAPP - CAPTAIN, 2006 (England lost 25-17 to New Zealand)

"Being part of a World Cup team is something very special. You will create memories both on and off the field that will stay with you forever and develop lifelong friendships.

"I remember in 2006 looking around the changing room before the final thinking there is no one else I would rather take to the field with. Looking around the room you knew everyone wanted to win for each other and for all those people that had supported us both as a team and individuals.

Jo Yapp - 2006 captain

Not many people get to say they have played in a World Cup final and even fewer get to say they have lifted the trophy - Jo Yapp

"We had done everything we could and to be at the pinnacle of your sport and leading out an amazing group of players in a World Cup final is something I will never forget. Unfortunately the result did not go our way in 2006 and we lost to New Zealand.

"But you all need to believe this is your time. As players you should have complete confidence in all the preparation that has got you to this point. All the blood, sweat and tears are for this moment!

"Not many people get to say they have played in a World Cup final and even fewer get to say they have lifted the trophy. This is your opportunity, everyone is behind you and believes you can do it."

HELEN CLAYTON, FLANKER, 2002 (England lost 19-9 to New Zealand)

"My memories of 2002 in Barcelona are still tainted by a loss. We met Canada in the semi-finals. It was a ferocious encounter in the heat that saw us raise our game to new levels. Canada where still a relative unknown and both teams were desperate to get to the final.

Helen Clayton (left)

You do it for those who stand in that changing room with you, who you have trained, dreamed, cried and sweated with - Helen Clayton

"We had approached the season with a new coach and new attitude. Geoff Richards had come in and changed the way we thought about preparation and training; body shapes had changed, fitness and match understanding had increased.

"What hadn't changed was the the feeling when you pull on that jersey, for a moment it defines you. It unites you with those who have worn it before and those that want to fill it. It contains your passion, your fears and your belief.

"We had a large contingent of families and friends out there and many more at home.

"The myth is you are doing it for them and your country. That is not true - you do it for those who stand in that changing room with you, who you have trained, dreamed, cried and sweated with.

"Those who know you will give your all and those you will look to after 80 minutes and say we are England, we are world champions."