Paul O'Connell's World Cup dream is ended by injury
Paul O'Connell's World Cup and Test career are at an end after Ireland confirmed their talisman lock must undergo surgery on his torn hamstring.
After 108 caps and 13 years O'Connell's glittering international stint is over, his final act in Ireland's green to bash the Millennium Stadium turf in agony after suffering his tournament-ending blow against France on Sunday.
Ireland have called up Leinster's Mike McCarthy to replace their inspirational skipper, with Jamie Heaslip assuming the captaincy and Joe Schmidt's squad also braced to lose influential flanker Sean O'Brien to disciplinary sanctions on Tuesday.
"Paul O'Connell suffered a significant hamstring injury and will undergo surgery this week," read Ireland's 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.
"Mike McCarthy has been called up to the Ireland squad in place of Paul O'Connell. Mike will arrive in Cardiff today."
Munster captain and gritty back-rower Peter O'Mahony flew home to Cork on Monday after suffering serious knee ligament damage in Sunday's sterling 24-9 victory over France in Cardiff.
Ireland's largest victory over France since 1975 has teed up a last-eight battle with Argentina at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, but head coach Schmidt has been forced to fend off considerable collateral damage.
Leinster's bullish back-rower O'Brien has been cited for his off-the-ball skirmish with lock Pascal Pape in Sunday's France clash, and will appear before a London disciplinary panel on Tuesday lunchtime.
The 26-year-old could well be handed a ban for his apparent punch on Pape in the first minute of Ireland's storming triumph, where he wound up winning the man-of-the-match award.
Flanker O'Brien's citing was confirmed by World Rugby on Monday evening.
Independent judicial officer Terry Willis will hear O'Brien's case, with Ireland boss Joe Schmidt revealing hopes on Sunday that the combative Leinster flanker could avoid sanction.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has branded O'Brien's clash with Pape an "assault", but Schmidt claimed his back-rower had connected with an "open hand".
Ireland's chances of beating the ebullient Pumas would be sorely tested should Schmidt's men be forced to cope without O'Brien, as well as O'Mahony and O'Connell.
Ireland are yet to name a replacement for centre Jared Payne, but started their cavalry call by adding 24-year-old Leinster flanker Rhys Ruddock to their ranks to offset the loss of O'Mahony.
Andrew Trimble is in the frame to slot in for Payne, ruled out last week with a fractured foot.
O'Connell was due to retire from the Test arena at the end of the World Cup, but the severity of his injury has now accelerated that process.
The Toulon-bound second row beat the Millennium Stadium turf in anguish and anger after suffering his injury, before being carried off on a stretcher at half-time during Sunday's France clash.