According to The Irish Times, O'Connell will return to the squad before the game - sadly not to play, but his presence will no doubt be appreciated by his teammates. 

The report states that the captain "will offer his vast experience and leadership skills to the group, 24 hours after going under the knife to treat his tournament ending hamstring injury." And by "injury" they mean it came off the bone.  

Team manager Michael Kearney had this to say: "Paul came back into camp on Monday and spent the first couple of days in camp - he was in good form and was contributing to the meetings. He left for London this morning (Thursday) where he is having an operation later today and we are hopeful that Paul will rejoin us back here in Cardiff either tomorrow evening or on Saturday."

In some good news, Kearney added that Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls are expected to train tomorrow: "Keith Earls first of all, he sat out training on Tuesday, basically we’re just managing his load - but he will train fully tomorrow. In relation to Johnny Sexton he did quite a bit of running yesterday and again is expected to train tomorrow. I attended the hearing with Seán on Tuesday - obviously it was a very long hearing it took the guts of seven hours to hear all of the evidence and see it through. It was a very fair process, a very thorough process. We did receive the written report on the hearing earlier today and we are reflecting on that and will have a further update tomorrow."

As for the support the Irish fans have given them throughout the tournament so far - especially during last Sunday's game - he said: "It was incredible support, incredible volume, I don’t think anyone has ever heard Ireland’s call sung with such passion and gusto it really was spine tingling."