Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland's Paul O'Connell ruled out

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What rugby means to Paul O'Connell
World Cup quarter-final: Ireland v Argentina
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sunday 18 October Kick-off: 13:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary on BBC website

Paul O'Connell's international career is over after the Ireland captain tore his hamstring during Sunday's World Cup victory over France.

The 35-year-old is moving to French side Toulon after the tournament having being released early from his dual Munster and Ireland contract.

Iain Henderson, who replaced O'Connell, is likely to start Sunday's quarter-final game with Argentina in Cardiff.

Number eight Jamie Heaslip will lead the team in O'Connell's absence.

Brian O'Driscoll tweet
Former Ireland team-mate and O'Connell's predecessor as captain, Brian O'Driscoll reacts to the news

"Paul O'Connell suffered a significant hamstring injury and will undergo surgery this week," said an Irish Rugby statement.

"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."

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Six Nations 2015: Paul O'Connell sets Ireland on their way against Scotland

The end of O'Connell's involvement in the campaign follows Peter O'Mahony while fly-half Johnny Sexton is a doubt for the quarter-final because of a groin injury.

Flanker Sean O'Brien may also be missing for the match against the Pumas after he was cited for an apparent punch on France second row Pascal Pape.

Leinster's Mike McCarthy has been called into the Ireland squad as O'Connell's replacement.

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Paul O'Connell on crutches as Ireland career ends

O'Connell began his international career with a try-scoring debut against Wales in 2002 and has been a key member of the Ireland side since.

After playing a leadership role alongside captain Brian O'Driscoll in Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009, O'Connell captained the British and Irish Lions in their 2-1 Test series defeat by South Africa later that year.

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England 2015 was O'Connell's fourth World Cup campaign with Ireland. He has never been beyond the quarter-finals in the tournament.

He finishes his international career with 108 Ireland caps and another seven for the British and Irish Lions.

'A devastating way to end his career'

Former Ireland team-mate Peter Stringer paid tribute to O'Connell, describing him as an "inspirational leader".

"What a captain he has been. He is the first second row I have played with who has been the complete player," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I have never met anybody like him. He demands the highest of standards from everyone within an organisation to make sure the team succeeds.

"It is devastating for him to end his career like he has with this injury."

Wales assistant Rob Howley, who coached O'Connell on the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour, described him as a "world icon", adding: "Irish rugby will miss him and even more so world rugby."

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