Paul O'Connell's Ireland career comes to premature end
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Paul O'Connell's Ireland career comes to premature end

IRELAND captain Paul O'Connell's international career has come to a premature end after he suffered a hamstring injury during Sunday’s World Cup victory over France.

The 35-year-old said before the tournament that he would call time on playing for Ireland at the end of the competition.

He was released early from his Munster and Ireland contract and will move to French team Toulon on a two-year deal after the World Cup.

Irish Rugby said in a statement: "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."

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Iain Henderson will replace O’Connell in Sunday's quarter-final clash against Argentina in Cardiff and Jamie Heaslip will take over the captaincy.

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

O’Connell’s injury follows other Irish casualties during the campaign, including Peter O'Mahony who was ruled out with knee ligament damage.

The 2015 World Cup was O'Connell's fourth campaign with Ireland, but he has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.

The three-time Six Nations winner finishes his international career with 108 Ireland caps and seven for the British and Irish Lions.

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