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Wallabies player Len Ikitau celebrates with team mates after scoring against the Springboks. Photosport

Australia has been given ‘preferred candidate status’ to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup, World Rugby have announced overnight while the USA is set to hold the event for the first time.

Australia last hosted the event in 2003 and shared hosting rights with New Zealand for the inaugural tournament in 1987. Russia was the only other country vying for hosting rights for the 2027 event after Argentina withdrew from interest last year while the United States switched focus to the men’s tournament in 2031.

A World Rugby statement said: “USA will enter into exclusive targeted dialogue for Rugby World Cup 2031 within a model that focuses on building meaningful partnerships between World Rugby and potential host countries.”

World Rugby also announced England as the preferred candidate for the 2025 women’s Rugby World Cup.

“Alongside the awarding of Preferred Candidate status to England and Australia, the World Rugby Council additionally voted to implement a series of exclusive discussions with the USA in relation to Rugby World Cup 2031 hosting. As an emerging rugby market with a 10-year runway to the 2031 tournament, the USA will require a unique and extended approach that will require extensive further dialogue with key stakeholders. This dialogue will take place with a view to developing the most effective hosting model for a Rugby World Cup in North America and the global game in the long-term,” a World Rugby statement said.