Strictly 2021 star Ugo Monye already faces immediate challenge before competition starts

Ugo Monye revealed as final celebrity to join Strictly Come Dancing

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Strictly Come Dancing 2021 starts on BBC One this weekend (September 18) and a new lineup of famous faces will take to the dancefloor. Rugby legend Ugo Monye, who is known for being a panellist on A Question of Sport, says he faces an “immediate challenge”. He spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk and other media about the hurdles he must overcome.

Strictly fans are keen to see which celebrities will emerge as potential winners in this year’s competition.

They have come from all walks of life in the world of showbiz and possess different levels of skill on the dancefloor.

For Ugo Monye, he is feeling particularly nervous about mastering the posture for the slower-paced dances.

He explained how he spent his whole rugby career training his body to move in a certain way.

Now, he will have to undo all of his training in order to master the demanding routines that require finesse and poise.

He said: “I think I’m going to enjoy doing the up-tempo fast-paced dances. I say that, I don’t know if I’m going to be any good at it.

“Considering everything I have done in my career, rugby wise, you are actually built to be stiff, robust.

“So for example pointing your toes, you need to have flexible ankles.

“Well, I spent 14 years of my career trying to have stiff ankles so I guess my immediate challenge is to undo everything I have learnt in my rugby career in the next few weeks.

“And in ballroom dancing when it’s all about poise and grace and shape, I think that’s going to be a real challenge for me.

“I’m not the most flexible of lads so I think especially when it’s a slower-paced dance… I think that might be a challenge.”

Monye, 38, played 14 times for England during his rugby career and he hailed from the club Harlequins.

He said he had spoken to a number of other rugby players who have taken part in Strictly in the past.

Monye said “the standard has been set” so he will be feeling extra pressure during his first dance.

The sporting star also revealed who his biggest competition is likely to be.

He said: “It’s hard to actually think of any weak link, but Adam Peaty has just smashed the Olympics.

“In terms of being in prime physical condition, he couldn’t have picked a better time.

“AJ Odudu just looks like a dancer, she is going to be phenomenal. There are three or four names off the top of my head.”

He was keen to sign up to Strictly as it is something he has wanted to do for a while.

The Question of Sport host said: “When you think about Strictly, it’s the biggest show on TV.

“I think when they call, you should take that call.”

The star has two young daughters – Phoenix, aged four and a half and Ruby, aged one and a half.

They were never able to watch him play rugby and Monye said he was keen for his girls to see him challenge himself.

He said: “Phoenix loves dancing, she loves ballet and I just know she will be super excited watching this.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 airs on BBC One on Saturday, September 18.

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