Paul O'Connell has played his last game for Ireland. It was confirmed this morning that a severe hamstring injury sustained against France will see him miss the rest of the Rugby World Cup.
He left the field on a motorised stretcher wearing an oxygen mask. Ulster’s Iain Henderson came on to replace him and delivered a barnstorming performance.
O’Connell was due to move to France after the World Cup and he had confirmed that this tournament would be his Irish swansong.
A brief IRFU statement read: "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."
Leinster second row Mike McCarthy has been called up and will join with the squad later today.
Speaking yesterday,Joe Schmidt admitted the end of the career was near: "I suspect it probably is ... "Paul is the one who worries me most. It doesn't look great with Paul."
O'Connell, 35, took over as Ireland captain from Jamie Heaslip in 2013.
He has been an inspirational leader for his country and with Munster, with whom he has won two Heineken Cups, for nearly a decade and a half.
O'Connell made his provincial debut in August 2001 and six months later earned his first cap in an Ireland jersey.
Since then he played 175 times for Munster and 108 times for his country, and also captained the Lions. His international career highlight came with 2009's Six Nations Grand Slam.
He finished his Munster career at the end of last season and is due to play for three-time European champions Toulon of France's Top 14 once the Rugby World Cup ends.
However, that too may now be in doubt depending on the seriousness of his injury.
This is so wrong on many levels. One of the greatest leaders & players of them all. Inspirational. https://t.co/8blR5e2tJp— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) October 13, 2015