There have been plenty of players leaving Sandy Park but not like this!

Exeter Chiefs star Jodie Ounsley is leaving the club to take part in the BBC’s new version of legendary 90s TV show Gladiators.

Ounsley, who became the first deaf player to represent the England sevens side in 2019, will take part in filming from June in Sheffield as the character ‘Fury’.

A former British Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, Ounsley was announced alongside Cross-Fit athlete Zack George, ‘Steel’, in the cast of the show that was first aired in 1992.

Related: Jodie Ounsley reveals what she wants to see in the women’s game

Ounsley wrote on Instagram: “I am absolutely buzzing to be announced as a gladiator in the new comeback series of @gladiatorstv! This opportunity is truly surreal for me, as I grew up watching my dad as a contender on the previous series. I never imagined that one day I would have the chance to be a GLADIATOR.

“I am honestly so grateful to the team at @officialexeterchiefs 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.”

Ounsley originally hails from Dewsbury in Yorkshire and joined Susie Appleby’s Chiefs from Sale Sharks in 2022, having previously represented Loughborough Lightning.

She wears a scrum cap to protect her cochlear implant but only began playing rugby in October 2015.

Ounsley, whose father was a contender on the show in 2008, added: “I’m proper buzzing. Watching Gladiators growing up I was always in awe of their strength and power and now I am one! I hope contenders are ready to feel the Fury.”

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