Former Northampton Saints rugby star Paul Diggin, known as Digger, says he is nervous but excited to be taking part in Strictly Northampton.
The 29-year-old, who is now a coach for the Saints Academy and is celebrating his testimonial year, was a celebrity judge at last year’s contest and said it would be strange having the tables turned on him when he takes to the dance floor.
“I’m absolutely terrified about being on the other side this time,” he admitted.
“I’d ask the judges to be gentle with me.”
Paul is a former England Under 16, 18 and 21s player and was with England Saxons before playing for Northampton Saints as a winger and a full back.
He grew up on the Spencer estate in Northampton and now lives in St James.
But although he watched his former team-mate and friend, Ben Cohen, wiggle his hips in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, Paul has never danced before.
“I’ve never done a tap; only when I’ve had a drink and at weddings,” he said.
“My testimonial ends in October and this will be a bit of fun to finish it off.”
He says he’s worried about Saints fans buying tickets to go to watch him on stage at Derngate on Saturday, November 22, but only because they might have high expectations of his skill level.
“I think they’ll be disappointed in me! But I really want to give it a go and I’m quite competitive so I want to start practising as soon as I can so I won’t be going on stage half-baked.”
So will he be able to match Ben Cohen’s form on the dance floor at the Royal & Derngate on November 22?
“I think he’s a bit more athletic than me. I’m not sure if he’ll come and watch me in it; it’ll depend on his busy schedule,” he added.