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Ireland captain Rory Best facing race to be fit for Scotland clash

Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Ireland captain Rory Best must prove his fitness on Thursday in order to face Scotland in Saturday's final RBS 6 Nations encounter.

Ireland's most-capped hooker sat out Tuesday's training with a tight calf in what assistant coach Richie Murphy deemed a precautionary move.

The 33-year-old Ulster front-rower is expected to come through in time for the Aviva Stadium clash, with Cian Healy and Eoin Reddan now also back in training.

Healy missed the 58-15 win over Italy with hamstring trouble while Reddan was sidelined with a calf problem, but both are now free to return to the squad to face Scotland.

"Rory Best sat out of training today," said Ireland's skills coach Murphy. "He trained yesterday and came off. He was a little tight in the calf at the end of training.

"It was judged not to train him today and he should be ready to train on Thursday."

Murphy revealed Ireland's medical team expect 93-cap Best to be back to full fitness comfortably in time to take on Scotland this weekend.

When asked if Ireland's coaching staff had any concerns over Best for the weekend, Murphy replied: "Not really; the medics feel like he should be fine and ready to go for Thursday."

Rob Kearney's absence with hamstring trouble hands Simon Zebo the opportunity to continue at full-back with Ireland desperate for victory to claw their way to a mid-table Six Nations finish.

The draw with Wales and defeats to France and England scuppered any chance of Ireland defending the title they had won for the previous two seasons running.

The untroubled nine-try victory over Italy last weekend has set head coach Joe Schmidt's men back to winning ways though, but Scotland will provide a far sterner examination this weekend.

Ireland could well field the same starting XV as against Italy, should Best come through his fitness worry, with the return of Leinster duo Healy and Reddan potentially bolstering resources from the bench.

"Eoin Reddan returned to training today. Cian Healy trained yesterday and today as well," said Murphy. "Both guys are fit and ready for selection this week."