England will host the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2010, the IRB has announced, with the tournamewnt to be staged in London.
The tournament was last held in Edmonton, Canada in 2006.
The IRB Executive Committee selected the host union following a recommendation from the Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) board after considering detailed tenders from the Rugby Football Union and the German Rugby Union.
"Women's Rugby World Cup is the showpiece event in women's rugby and since its inception in 1991 has provided the impetus for the global growth of the women's game," said RWC Ltd board chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"In awarding the sixth women's World Cup to the Rugby Football Union, the IRB felt that the tournament would be best positioned to elevate the women's game to new heights."
"The RFU has considerable experience of hosting major international rugby tournaments, including Rugby World Cup, and with world-class facilities, strong tournament management and infrastructure and an extensive and enthusiastic support base for women's rugby, it is perfectly placed to host a successful Women's Rugby World Cup 2010."
Lapasset also praised the quality of the German proposal. "Germany is a key strategic market for rugby's ongoing global growth and the RWCL Board and IRB Executive Committee were both very impressed with the German union tender."
The women's game is experiencing an unprecedented level of global competition. The qualifying process for World Cup sevens 2009 in Dubai is well under way with 11 of the 16 women's teams having booked their place at the historic tournament. By its conclusion in late October, the qualifying process will have involved 83 women's teams.
"The women's game is going through a phase of exciting growth," said Lapasset. "In 2006 the IRB unveiled a strategic plan that identified the pathway for the ongoing growth of women's rugby. It was supported by a targeted funding plan of over £3 million for the period 2006-2010, which culminates in two critical tournaments; Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai next year and then Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 in England."
"These two tournaments, coupled with a global qualification process and existing tournament structures, will guarantee an unprecedented level of elite women's competition for around 90 unions over the next two years."
The global qualification process for Women's Rugby World Cup, involving all six IRB regions for the 2010 tournament, will be announced by the end of the year with qualifying expected to kick off in 2009.