Pictured above: Ireland's forwards get down and dirty during a scrummaging session at St. Gerard's. Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan told reporters at today's press conference in Killiney that he rates Saturday's opponents Scotland highly.
The Corkman said: "Scotland have been the team of the championship in that they were written off at the start in much the same way Wales were last year. They've come out with all guns blazing and have beaten the two big guns in the tournament, England and France. You would have got great odds on that.
"They lost to Wales in Cardiff but having Scott Murray sent off early on in the game had an impact. They're very single-minded in their job and play with a lot of passion and commitment, which has always been a hallmark of Scottish rugby.
"They've got back to where they want to be in terms of competing in 6 Nations rugby. (Scotland coach) Frank Hadden obviously knows what he wants and is getting it out of his players."
Ulster captain Simon Best sees the funny side of things as he and Marcus Horan end up on the muddied turf at St. Gerard's during a 'live' scrum.
The chances of Marcus Horan and his 'mount' Donncha O'Callaghan making a late entry into next week's Cheltenham Gold Cup seem slim.
Paul O'Connell, John Hayes and David Wallace finish up at training.
Denis Leamy, Jerry Flannery and Donncha O'Callaghan climb the steps up from the training pitch at St. Gerard's.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**