Jodie Ounsley: Exeter Chiefs' Gladiator Fury retires from rugby union

Jodie Ounsley in action
Jodie Ounsley in action -Credit:NurPhoto via Getty Images

Exeter Chiefs winger Jodie Ounsley - who is Fury on the successful Gladiators television show - has retired from professional rugby union. The 23-year-old has agreed an early release from her contract to focus on opportunities outside the sport.

Ounsley has played eight times and scored three tries for the Chiefs in a career that has been hit by injury. She found fame this year after joining the reboot of the popular 1990s gameshow.

The former England Sevens player's final appearance came in last week's Allianz Cup semi-final loss to Saracens. Arriving at Sandy Park from Sale Sharks Women in 2022, Ounsley had already established herself as an inspiration for youngsters growing up deaf who harboured dreams of a professional sporting career.

Originally following in the footsteps of her father who was a former professional mixed martial artist, Ounsley was crowned British Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion before turning her hand to rugby union.

"Stepping away from the rugby field has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life," she told the Exeter Chiefs' website.

"This sport has given me opportunities, friendships and memories that I could only have dreamed of, and I will forever be grateful to the wonderful community at the Exeter Chiefs for making this feel like home."

"Whilst I am excited for opportunities around the corner, this is certainly not goodbye and I will continue to be a fervent supporter of women's rugby. And with the Rugby World Cup on the horizon, I can't wait to see what the future holds for our sport."