Ireland have suffered a major blow ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against Argentina after their captain Paul O’Connell was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury, bringing an end to the second-row’s glittering international career.
O’Connell suffered the injury just before half-time during Ireland’s 24-9 victory over France at the Millennium Stadium last Sunday. The lock underwent scans on the strain on Monday and it has now been confirmed that he must undergo surgery.
“Paul O’Connell suffered a significant hamstring injury and will undergo surgery this week. Paul will not play again at Rugby World Cup 2015 and his time out of the game will depend on the outcome of the surgery,” read a statement from the Irish Rugby Football Union. “Mike McCarthy has been called up to the Ireland squad in place of Paul O’Connell. Mike will arrive in Cardiff today [Tuesday].”
Ireland have already lost the back-row Peter O’Mahony for the remainder of the tournament due to a knee ligament injury, and face the prospect of also losing the fly-half Jonny Sexton after he suffered a groin strain in the match against France.
It is also possible that Sean O’Brien could miss Sunday’s contest with Argentina, which also takes place at the Millennium Stadium, after he was cited for punching France’s Pacal Papé at the weekend.