Ireland v South Africa, November 10
O'Connell injury blow for Ireland
ESPN Staff
November 7, 2012
Ireland lock Paul O'Connell, Ireland v Wales, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, February 5, 2012
Ireland's Paul O'Connell will miss this Saturday's showdown with the Springboks due to a back injury © Getty Images

Ireland's Paul O'Connell has been ruled out of his side's clash with South Africa on Saturday with a back injury.

The veteran second row looked set to make his first international appearance since the Six Nations having trained with the squad earlier this week. But the 33-year-old, who only returned to action last month having been sidelined since May with knee and back problems, has suffered a reaction and will sit out this weekend's Aviva Stadium showdown.

"Paul returned to training at the start of this week and took a full part in the squad sessions on Monday and Tuesday," read a statement released by the Irish Rugby Football Union. "However, he suffered a reaction and will not be fit for selection for this weekend's game. Paul will see a specialist in the coming days and an update will be issued in due course."

The news is a fresh blow for Ireland coach Declan Kidney who has already been stripped of the services of centre Brian O'Driscoll (ankle), hooker Rory Best (neck), flanker Sean O'Brien (hip) and fullback Rob Kearney (back) for the game against the Springboks and the following games against Fiji and Argentina. In addition, flanker Stephen Ferris is sidelined with an ankle injury and may only feature against the Pumas.

With O'Driscoll and Best out of action, O'Connell was also expected to assume the captaincy with No.8 Jamie Heaslip and fly-half Jonathan Sexton now in line to be named skipper.

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