It would be the 15th competition. Nigel Wood, chairman of the bid committee and RLIF vice chairman, said the two bids were thoroughly compelling, however, the committee favoured the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the one with the greatest chance of success to provide more compelling games in world-class environments and in front of big, passionate crowds.
The two nations jointly hosted the international competition in 1968 and 1977, making the 2017 event their third collaboration.
South Africa sent a team in the 1995 and 2008 World Cups, but still made a bid even if there are only few domestic rugby games in the country out of the belief that it could help make the game known internationally by hosting the sports competition.
Wood acknowledged that the bid from South Africa was very strong, professionally prepared and demonstrated clearly the nation's passion for rugby which continues to grow daily.
Also on Wednesday, the NRL announced the 2014 mid-season Anzac Test will be held in Sydney. It would be the first meeting between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis since Australia won the World Cup final over New Zealand in 2013.
YouTube/Rugby League World Cup 2013
The Test, would be held at the Allianz Stadium on May 2 for the Australia vs New Zealand match and on May 3 at Penrith for the match between Fiji and Samoa.
The winner would compete in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand and in the Country vs City match at Dubbo on May 4.
There would also be a women's match -a first - to feature an All Stars team and Indigenous All Stars team as the pre-match to the Kangaroos-Kiwis Test.