England rugby international swaps sport for Gladiators in new TV series

Jodie Ounsley in action in the Allianz Premier 15s  (Getty Images)
Jodie Ounsley in action in the Allianz Premier 15s (Getty Images)

Jodie Ounsley is set to follow in her father’s footsteps as she swaps rugby for the re-boot of Gladiators.

The semi-professional rugby player had been playing for back-to-back champions Exeter Chiefs but will now perform as ‘Fury’ in the 2023 remake of the 1990’s hit TV show.

Ounsley has already broken new ground during her career, becoming the first deaf player to play for England’s sevens team back in 2019, and wears cochlear implants to help her communicate.

The 22-year-old has a background not just in rugby but also Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and won Deaf Sports Personality of the Year in 2018, but will be taking after her father, who was a contestant on the 2008 series.

“I am absolutely buzzing to be announced as a gladiator in the new comeback series of Gladiators!” she said.

“This opportunity is truly surreal for me, as I grew up watching my dad as a contender in a previous series.

“I never imagined that one day I would have the chance to be a GLADIATOR.

“I’m honestly so grateful to the team at Exeter Chiefs Rugby for their unwavering support and understanding, as they have been instrumental in allowing me to take time off from my rugby career to pursue this exciting opportunity.

“I can’t wait to get started and give my all as ‘Fury’.

“I’m looking forward to pushing myself to new limits and hopefully inspiring others to chase their dreams along the way.”

The obstacle course’s return will be hosted by father and son duo Bradley and Barney Walsh and will begin filming in Sheffield in June.

Cross-fitter Zack George, who won the title of UK’s Fittest Man in 2020 will join Ounsley as fellow Gladiator ‘Steel’.