Richard Birkett has established himself as one of the most experienced members of the Wasps squad, having clocked up his 150th appearance in 2006/07 since his 1XV debut in 1999.
Teaming up with Simon Shaw in the Wasps engine room, and a key player in the line out, Birkett was an integral part of the team that won Heineken Cup and Premiership glory having appeared in all of Wasps finals, with the exception of the 2007 Heineken Cup, since his debut.
2006/07 was a more interrupted season for the London born lock, the form of new signing Tom Palmer and a series of niggling injuries inhibited his 1XV chances however he still recorded a healthy 14 appearances. His experience was invaluable, however, in securing Wasps their first Guinness A League title last April beating Leicester Tigers at home.
However, if not for the fact that he had a lot of friends at Richmond while he was growing up, Birkett may have dropped rugby in favour of basketball long ago. At age 15, he was already playing for the U19 side at Crystal Palace in the National League and was playing far less rugby than basketball. However, he continued playing rugby as well and when the time came to choose between the two sports at age 17, Birkett chose rugby because he wanted to go where his friends were.
During a year at Millfield, he started playing rugby every day and earned a spot with the England U18 squad. Though he didn't have the chance to play much, Geoff Strange spotted him and Wasps gave him an apprenticeship contract in 1998. He then worked his way through the club before becoming a regular with the first XV a few seasons later.
In spite of his rugby and basketball background, the first club that Birkett ever supported was Tottenham. His favourite athletes, however, were a basketball player and a golfer: Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
Birkett credits his club mate Simon Shaw to be one of the greatest influences in his career, having guided him in his earlier years and always leading by example on the pitch.
Outside of rugby, Birkett enjoys socializing, cooking and taking his dog out walking. To add to that he is currently studying plumbing whilst also looking to expand his property empire. If he wasn't playing professional rugby he claims that he would have ended up in the city, perhaps in the finance arena.
Click the squad picture and the action pictures on the left to zoom them.
|Weight:||110kgs / 17st 5lbs|
|Height:||198cm / 6ft 6ins|
|Date of Birth:||01/10/1979|
|Place of Birth:||Roehampton|
|Representative Honours:||England A, England U18, England U21|
|Debut Match:||London Irish 10/10/1999|
|Heroes:||Zinzan Brooke, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods|
|Describe Yourself:||Enthusiastic, committed, versatile|
|Richard's Club Stats:||This Season||Club Total|