Ireland coach Joe Schmidt admitted that skipper Paul O’Connell’s World Cup is in the balance after the influential lock was one of several injuries to mar today’s seismic victory over France which sees his side avoid holders New Zealand in the quarter-final.
Leading 9-6 at half-time, second-half tries from full-back Rob Kearney and scrum-half Conor Murray secured Ireland’s biggest victory margin over France for 30 years, while the win also means the Irish top Pool D.
Fly-half Johnny Sexton and flanker Peter O’Mahony are also doubtful for Sunday’s last-eight clash against Argentina after suffering injuries, although Schmidt’s immediate concern was for Toulon-bound O’Connell, who is set to retire from Test rugby after the tournament.
“It [hamstring injury] doesn’t look great to be honest. That would be a big blow for us,” said Schmidt. “We’re going to have to wait and see. We won’t be able to get him scanned until tomorrow and we’ll know more by Tuesday.”
Italy, meanwhile, signed off their World Cup campaign with a 32-22 bonus-point success over Romania at Sandy Park which confirms automatic qualification for the Azzurri at the 2019 World Cup.