His scorching pace and power made him a devastating force on the rugby pitch, while more recently his eloquence and charm have helped establish him in the TV studio as a team captain on the BBC’s A Question Of Sport as well as earning him a role as an expert summariser for ITV during the current World Cup.
But former England and British Lions star Ugo Monye could be forgiven for feeling badly bruised at the moment.
I can reveal that his company, the ebulliently named Show Me The Monye, has been lined up for a thumping tackle in the High Court – by the taxman.
The company, which Monye, 40, set up in 2012 for ‘physical well-being activities’, now owes nearly £200,000 in unpaid taxes and social security payments.
A company run by former England and British Lions star Ugo Monye (pictured) owes nearly £200,000 in unpaid taxes and social security payments
This has prompted His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to initiate a High Court petition which, if granted, would see the company wound up.
Neither Monye, who ended his dazzling but injury-hampered playing career aged only 31, nor his manager nor his legal representatives, Brandsmiths, whose clients include Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant empire, care to comment.
But being buried at the bottom of a financial ruck is the last thing that Monye would want to contend with right now.
Aside from his World Cup commitments, he has also become a ‘champion’ in the Princess of Wales’s childhood campaign, Shaping Up.
In June he joined Catherine at Maidenhead Rugby Club for a skills session on the pitch, before they discussed the value of local sports clubs to children.
It’s a subject close to Monye’s heart – perhaps particularly so since he split from his wife, Lucy, two years ago, just before he took part in Strictly, when he was paired with Oti Mabuse.
Monye, who, in his playing days, used to let off steam at Infernos nightclub in Clapham, south London, in the company of teammates, was at pains to say that he and Lucy were not victims of the Strictly ‘curse’ and to stress that they would remain ‘very much connected’ for the sake of their two young daughters.
Let’s hope the High Court doesn’t oblige him to kick the girls’ pocket money into touch.
Jeffrey and Joan crown around
Jeffrey Archer (pictured right) had the regal prop with him because he is promoting his new book, Traitors Gate
Joan Collins received her damehood from the then Prince Charles in 2015, but Jeffrey Archer appears to think her crowning moment is still to come.
Yesterday, the best-selling author, 83, was keen to place a crown on the head of the former Dynasty star, 90, when they bumped into each other at ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
‘Larking around with Lord Archer — he tried to crown me,’ Dame Joan jokes.
Archer had the regal prop with him because he is promoting his new book, Traitors Gate, which is about a plot to steal the Crown Jewels.
King’s aide quits Palace for Church
He’s the poet, author and librettist who helped organise the music for King Charles’s Coronation, but Grahame Davies is quitting royal service after 12 years for a higher calling.
I hear that Davies, 59, who served as Charles’s deputy private secretary until the Coronation, is joining the Church. He’s to have the specially created role of director of mission and strategy for the Church in Wales.
‘He’s a big loss to the Palace,’ a colleague tells me. ‘He’s a fluent Welsh speaker and was a real barometer of Welsh life for Charles, keeping him largely out of trouble by arranging all the right visits.’
Davies had switched to working for Prince William and Catherine in their new roles as Prince and Princess of Wales. They are shaking things up by appointing their first chief executive officer, who will answer directly to them.
Crumbs! Bourbon Princesses’ dazzling Paris debut
Princess Maria Carolina, 20, (right) and her sister, Princess Maria Chiara, 18, (left) modelled for Pierre Cardin at Paris Fashion Week
NOT since future princess Kate Middleton wowed Prince William when she sashayed down the runway at a St Andrews University charity fashion show has there been such a dazzling royal debut on the catwalk.
Italian ‘It-girls’ Princess Maria Carolina, 20, and her sister, Princess Maria Chiara, 18, of Bourbon-Two Sicilies — who partied with Prince Michael of Kent on the French Riviera this summer — modelled for Pierre Cardin at Paris Fashion Week.
Chiara (far left) wore a two-toned bandeau style gown, embellished with gold detailing. Carolina, meanwhile, sported a flamboyant off-the-shoulder blue dress with a white border that looked like enormous flower petals.
Forget all the bonhomie on the sofas, Graham Norton’s guests can be frightful off camera. ‘I’ll come off set and say, “They were nice”,’ the BBC1 chatshow host says.
‘Then someone in the team will go, “Yeah — to you.” So I often see the best of them, while the crew see a slightly different version.’
Norton, 60, adds: ‘It’s rare, but it’s usually the younger stars who can be more self-conscious and paranoid. Older stars tend to be more comfortable in their skin.’
Gordon Brown has seemingly taken a swipe at fellow former Labour PM Tony Blair, who has made millions since he left Downing Street.
‘I made a decision that I will not gain private wealth because I don’t think public service should be a platform for private gain,’ Brown tells a talk promoting his book, Permacrisis: A Plan To Fix A Fractured World, at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster.
Lady Amelia Windsor (pictured) says she’s sickened by the ugly state of our coastal waters
Once hailed as the ‘most beautiful member of the Royal Family’ by Tatler magazine, Lady Amelia Windsor is sickened by the ugly state of our coastal waters.
The Duke of Kent’s granddaughter, 28, says swimming in the sea is one of her ‘favourite things’, but adds: ‘It’s a shame you have to check a map of the UK coastline to find out if sewage has been pumped into it before you swim. I just saw a map and it was mostly red crosses, meaning that sewage had been released into the sea.’
Lady Amelia, ambassador for conservation charity the Blue Marine Foundation, says: ‘There were only a few green ticks here and there, which is a travesty.’