Ben prepares to step up for Strictly debut

Strictly Come Dancing. Ben Cohen & Kristina Rihanoff. Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Strictly Come Dancing. Ben Cohen & Kristina Rihanoff. Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Former Northampton Saints star and Daventry man, Ben Cohen, has likened himself to a “gorilla on a trike” ahead of his first appearance on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The World Cup winner who played in Northampton for 11 years, will make his debut on the Strictly dance floor when the shows start on Friday and Saturday. Mr Cohen will perform a cha cha cha with his professional dance partner Kristina Rihanoff.

He said: “I look forward to getting my teeth into the routine. It’s nice to know what routine I will be doing now. I would say it’s helpful to be a sportsman doing Strictly but I watched myself on the launch show and it kind of reminded me of a gorilla on a trike.

“I looked very cumbersome going round the dancefloor and I’ve got so much work to do. At the moment I look at myself in the mirror and I start laughing.”

Mr Cohen said he was getting on well with his professional dance partner and was gradually improving as a result of her tuition. “Kristina is a good teacher and she has good attention to detail. I’ve just got to learn to listen because it is not a field I am experienced in. I seem to be picking it up quite well, so hopefully it will all sink in over the next few days,” he added.

Mr Cohen’s partner, Kristina Rhianoff, said: “Ben has no experience of dancing and I hope people give him the time and opportunity to develop so that he can turn from a rugby player into a beautiful swan.”