London Wasps lock Birkett set for landmark 250th game

Wasps lock Richard Birkett
Wasps lock Richard Birkett

LONDON Wasps lock Richard Birkett is looking forward to a significant milestone this weekend when he is set to make his 250th appearance for the club.

In doing so, Birkett will join a prestigious group of Wasps players to reach the milestone which include Lawrence Dallaglio, Alex King, Josh Lewsey, Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley, and having made his debut back in 1999, the second-row, who is expected to line out against Bordeaux Begles on Sunday, says he is hugely proud to have achieved the landmark.

“I definitely didn’t think I would last this long! It’s been bruising but a lot of fun and I am very proud of the fact that I am still playing and had such a lot of fun along the way. It has been a fantastic experience doing it all with Wasps and I am very lucky.”

Birkett’s first game was against London Irish at Loftus Road where he came off the bench in the then Allied Dunbar Premiership joining on the field the likes of Shaw, King, Paul Volley and Will Green.

In his 249 games to date he has been part of team who have won almost every accolade in the game including the Heineken Cup, Premiership and numerous other domestic trophies. But for him one game will always live long in the memory.

“Our game in Lansdowne Road against Munster in the Heineken Cup Semi-Final in 2004 without a doubt has been the one I will never forget.

“We won 32-37 and it was just incredible from start to finish. Everything about it was fantastic. The game itself was immense and the lead changed hands a few times, the atmosphere was also unforgettable.

“I had never experienced anything like it. There were thousands of home fans baying for our blood and then after the game they were all patting us on the back and saying fair play you guys were awesome. I have a lot of respect for fans like that who really appreciate rugby and they are not just blinkered.”

The landmark game, which kicks off at Adams Park at 3pm, will also be special for prop Tim Payne who will make his 50th European appearance for Wasps.