Ireland lose O’Mahony, sweat on O’Connor and Sexton

Peter O Mahony has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup

Ireland have lost flanker Peter O’Mahony for the rest of the Rugby World Cup and are sweating on injuries to Jonny Sexton and captain Paul O’Connell.

Ireland are almost certain to be without O’Connell for this weekend’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

“Peter O’Mahony suffered a knee ligament injury and is returning to Dublin. He will play no further part in the World Cup,” said Ireland team manager Michael Kearney.

“Paul O’Connell suffered a significant hamstring injury and was hospitalised overnight.”

Rhys Ruddock has been called into the squad as replacement for O’Mahony.

Joe Schmidt’s team have a week to lick their wounds from the ferocious 24-9 win over France that gave them a week to prepare to meet a Puma side that the coach considers “incredibly good.”

The Irish outscored the French by two tries to nil thanks to Rob Kearney and Connor Murray, with contributions from the boots of Sexton and his replacement Ian Madigan. That ensured top place in Pool D.

But Sexton limped off, O’Connell and Peter O’Mahony were stretchered off raising immediate doubts for Schmidt. O’Mahony has been ruled out and Ireland are waiting on results from the scans on Sexton and O’Connell who hamstring is a real concern.

“It’s probably Paul that worries me of the three,” said coach Joe Schmidt. “It doesn’t look great with Paul.”

Sexton was close to tears as he walked off, but Schmidt said he probably had an adductor problem.

“I’ve spoken to Jonny and he’s already talking about next week. I’m not sure whether that means he’ll be playing. He’s never short of advice!”

Ireland were relieved to avoid France’s fate of having to play New Zealand. But Schmidt can see a big challenge in Argentina who opened their Pool C campaign with a narrow 26-16 defeat by the All Blacks before easily seeing off Georgia (54-9), Tonga (45-16) and Namibia (64-19).

“The biggest attraction for us playing Argentina was the seven-day turnaround, not because we want to play them!” Schmidt said with one eye on the injuries.

“They’ve been incredibly good, not just since the Rugby World Cup started,” the Kiwi coach said in reference to their ever-improving performances in the Rugby Championship, notably their 37-25 away win over the Springboks in August.

“I had a very good look at their win in Durban and to put the South Africans away like that is a major performance.”

Schmidt added: “They’ve cruised through their group. They maybe should have been a few more points further ahead at half-time against the All Blacks.

“That didn’t work out for them at the end, but they put the All Blacks under an immense amount of pressure.”

Schmidt warned that the trials and tribulations suffered against France would be repeated come Sunday.

“We know that the physicality, the speed and the skill of the Argentinians are going to challenge us massively. Their set-piece is going to be a real challenge,” he said.

“For us really to be honest today was a bit of an endpoint. We haven’t done too much work on looking ahead just because we didn’t know who we’d be playing and because we have that much respect for the French.

“We knew it was going to be incredibly tough and we wanted to stay fresh and take a fresh look at the week ahead once we’ve got this game done.”

But Schmidt conceded he had already done some homework.

“Make no mistake, I’ve certainly kept a close eye on them. (Argentina coach Daniel) Hourcade has put together some pretty impressive stuff. Out wide there are some fantastic challenges to try and shut down in (winger) Juan Imhoff, and Santiago Cordero has been a phenomenal contributor for them.

“Up front you know it’s going to be tough, and as for the loose forwards, the problem for Daniel sometimes is who he leaves out rather that who he puts in!”

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