London Irish hooker David Paice harbours England ambition

David Paice
Paice has played twice for England

London Irish hooker David Paice says he has not given up on forcing his way back into the England set-up.

Paice, 27, has two Test caps to his name but has not played for England since 2008, and is hoping his early-season form will result in a recall.

"I feel like I am getting close to a place and am playing pretty well this year," Paice told BBC Berkshire.

"I am fitter than I have been before and England is still a goal of mine, but that is out of my hands."

Paice has fellow hookers George Chuter, Lee Mears, Dylan Hartley and Steve Thompson standing in his way to an international jersey and admits he faces a tough task to force his way into the squad.

But he is hoping that his displays for England Saxons, as well as his fine form for the Exiles this season, will not have gone unnoticed.

Paice won his eighth Saxons cap when he started the 41-14 win over Tonga at Kingsholm in June.

"I had a good England Saxons tour and I felt I finished last season strongly," he said.

"I think I have carried that on this season. I am trying to get my hands on the ball a lot more this year and I think my carries have almost doubled to what they were last year and the year before that.

"I've just got to keep going and play the best I can play and hope I'm in and around there."

Paice added: "I think that Chuter, Mears, Thomson and Hartley are all in on merit and had very good seasons and, to be honest, they were ahead of me.

"But the coaches are honest and it is up to me to show them that I am better."