Club record appearance holder David Paice is relishing the prospect of going up against the top two teams in the Aviva Premiership this month, starting with Exeter Chiefs at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

The man mountain hooker, who has given his all for the club since making his debut 15 years ago, is looking for his side to continue the recent resurgence that has yielded seven Premiership points to keep the survival mission alive.

“We are going to now test ourselves against the top two teams in the league and I’m really looking forward to seeing how far we have come as a team,” said Paice, 34.

“You couldn’t have asked for a tougher run in and no one is giving up at Irish as long as it’s still mathematically possible to stay up.

“We need to get a win from one of these two games and hope that other results go our way in order to bring it down to the Bath game on the final Saturday.”

Two bonus points at home to Gloucester in the annual St Patrick’s fixture was backed up by last week’s tremendous 35-5 victory at Harlequins, a result that was a real statement of intent going into the final three games.

“We are proving that we are a good team and it’s a lot more enjoyable when your being more competitive and winning games,” said Paice, who will make his 288th appearance this weekend.

“The way that we started the season has been the killer and it probably took us until Christmas to work out the best style of play having just come up from the Championship. The rugby in the Championship doesn’t equate to the Premiership, although they both have their strengths.

“We are where we are and it’s clear to see that the Premiership is getting better and better every year. The way that we have come through this season is a credit to the players and coaches of this club and hopefully we can finish the campaign strongly.”

Tickets for the game against Exeter in the Aviva Premiership this Sunday (kick-off 3pm) are available by calling 0118 968 1016 or online at

The club are offering free tickets for season ticket holders to bring family and friends to the game. To book your free tickets, please call the Ticket Office on 0118 968 1016 or visit the Madejski Stadium before 5pm on Friday 13 April. Please note, the Ticket Office is open from 9am to 5pm.

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