David Paice: London Irish hooker to retire after 15 years' service to return to Australia

London Irish hooker David Paice has made 288 appearances - more than any other Exiles player in the professional era
London Irish hooker David Paice has made 288 appearances - more than any other Exiles player in the professional era

London Irish's David Paice is to retire at the end of the season and return to his native Australia at the age of 34.

The Australia-born hooker, who won the first of eight England international caps in 2008, is to bow out 15 years on from joining the Irish academy.

One-club man Paice's final home game will be against Saracens this Sunday.

Irish must earn a bonus-point win against the reigning European champions and hope that Worcester are well beaten to stand any chance of staying up.

The Exiles are then due to finish their season the following Saturday at Bath.

Paice in our time

  • Darwin-born David Paice was brought up and educated in Brisbane.
  • After making his Irish debut in 2003, he has since made 288 appearances for the club - more than any other Exiles player in the professional era.
  • He played for Irish in the 21-15 Heineken Cup semi-final to eventual beaten finalists Toulouse at Twickenham in 2008.
  • He also played in the narrow 10-9 Premiership final defeat by Leicester, also at Twickenham, in 2009.
  • Following relegation in 2016, he led the Exiles to promotion from the Championship in 2017.
  • He won the first of his eight caps on England's tour to New Zealand in 2008, playing all four matches in the 2012 autumn internationals.

Going back down under

Australian hooker David Paice won eight international caps for England
Australian hooker David Paice won eight international caps for England

"I would like to thank London Irish for giving me the opportunity to play professional rugby," said Paice.

"The support of my wife Alyce and my two girls Amelie and Charlotte has been truly amazing. They have allowed me to enjoy my rugby. Without their support I wouldn't have got this far in my career.

"But I feel that the time is right for us to move back to Brisbane and be closer to family. Our eldest will also be starting school soon.

"London Irish is a special club, with fantastic supporters and I've made friends for life. There are so many people that I would like to thank, but Toby Booth, Brian Smith, Kieran McCarthy, Gary Gold, Nick Kennedy and Conor O'Shea have played an integral role in my career."

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