David Paice: London Irish hooker 'proud' ahead of 200th game

David Paice
Paice made his senior England debut in 2008

Hooker David Paice says he is proud to be making his 200th appearance for London Irish and has not given up on adding to his eight England caps.

Paice, 30, will become the 10th Exiles player to achieve the milestone when he faces Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Australia-born Paice joined the Irish Academy in 2003 while on a gap year.

"It's a good achievement, I never thought I'd get there," Paice told BBC Berkshire. "I've seen a lot of changes and I'm proud it's with one club."

Justin Bishop holds the club record with 280 appearances, five ahead of Academy coach Declan Danaher with 275.

London Irish's 200 club
Justin Bishop, Neal Hatley, Declan Danaher, Bob Casey, Nick Kennedy, Ryan Strudwick, Paul Hodgson, Kieron Dawson, Topsy Ojo and David Paice (on Sunday)

"I hope I get ahead of Topsy," he added. "I was ahead of him but a couple of injuries put paid to that.

"Two hundred games has been a long time coming. The last two seasons I think I've only played 15 games a season, so it has been disappointing to have the last two years cut short with injury.

"Hopefully this season I can get a clear run and try to catch Topsy."

Paice said his favourite game was the Heineken Cup semi-final defeat against Toulouse in 2008 and he still believes he can force his way into England's World Cup squad for next year.

"I'm in my prime as a hooker and rugby player, and I still want to be involved," he added.

"I've still got major ambitions and the England staff are always in touch. I need to play well for London Irish but London Irish need to be playing well also."

The Exiles were beaten 20-15 in their season-opener against Harlequins last Saturday and Paice says the squad are desperate to get their first win of the season.

"Everyone wants to get the first win, so this is an opportunity to do that," he said.

"These are exciting times, we've got a great bunch of guys and we want to get into that top six and then four as quickly as possible."