World Rugby announced a joint host selection process for the next four World Cups ©Getty Images

World Rugby has announced it will award hosting rights to the next two men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups within the same process.

The hosts of the 2025 and 2029 women's events and the 2027 and 2031 men's events are due to be selected in May 2022.

A three phase model is set to be launched in February starting with the dialogue phase, providing an opportunity for open communication between World Rugby and Unions, Governments and other key stakeholders. 

This will allow potential hosts to understand the business and delivery model and how they will partner with World Rugby, it is claimed.

The candidate phase is scheduled to begin in May 2021, with potential hosts constructing their proposal before submitting it in January 2022. 

From February 2022 is scheduled to be be the evaluation phase.

Bids will be evaluated by industry experts against the key criteria agreed by World Rugby Council. 

The evaluation report is then due to be provided to Council for a vote in May 2022.

This timetable is more compact compared to previous processes, with World Rugby acknowledging the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on governing bodies. 

It is hoped the long-term strategic approach will maximise knowledge transfer, preparation time and commercial opportunities for the hosts and World Rugby, while delivering sporting and financial certainty for national unions.

"The global COVID-19 pandemic, while incredibly challenging, has provided the opportunity to press the reset button and examine how we can do things differently and better," said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

"This ground-breaking dual awarding process reflects our vision to further align the selection process of our men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups, providing longer-term certainty in terms of preparation and partnership with World Rugby for future hosts, maximising legacy, sustainability and engagement outcomes.

"This is also a process that recognises the need to adapt following the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a stronger partnership with interested nations in developing their hosting models. 

"This process, combined with the announcement that Japan 2019 delivered a record £4.3 billion ($5.6billion/€4.8billion) total economic impact for the host nation, will help maximise hosting interest for our top men's and women's 15s tournaments."

The next women's Rugby World Cup is due to take place in New Zealand next year, while France is set to host the men's World Cup in 2023. 

Multiple countries have already shown interest in hosting the men's Rugby World Cup in 2027, including Australia, Russia and the United States. 

Argentina, who had previously stated their interest in hosting, pulled out of their potential bid to back the Australian campaign.