Strictly time runs out for our Big Ben

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing - Kristina Rihanoff, Ben Cohen - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing - Kristina Rihanoff, Ben Cohen - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
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Former rugby star and Daventry district resident, Ben Cohen, said playing in a World Cup final was easier than 
competing in TV’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The 35-year-old from near West Haddon, was voted off the BBC show on Sunday night after going up against actor Mark Benton in the dance-off.

The ex-England and Northampton Saints player scored only 27 points on Saturday with his professional dance partner, Kristina Rihanoff - the lowest score of the night. And judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood – and the panel members stuck to their guns in their final decision after the dance off against actor Mark Benton.

But Mr Cohen said he came into the competition with low expectations, and he believed if he was not voted off this week, he would have been sent home next time around.

He said: “It’s been a great experience and Kristina has been great. I said I was on borrowed time for a while.

“When it’s your job playing rugby, you’re really in your comfort zone, but when you’re dancing, you’re completely out of your comfort zone.

“I’m used to running out with 14 other guys and there’s safety in numbers. I’ve played in a World Cup final and a Heineken Cup final, but I found it easier playing in the World Cup than being on Strictly.”

Kristina told him: “If there was a trophy for the most improved person it would go to you. You started at zero and have improved every week. I’ve had the most rewarding time. I took someone with no experience and I brought you here; you were amazing.”

Ben Cohen said his tight costumes and tendency to go completely topless had won him lots of fans while taking part in Strictly Come Dancing.

He also said a highlight of his time on the show was working with Kristina.

He said: “She’s been thrown against a wall, elbowed, stood on, punched –but not on purpose – to make me look like I can dance to a song.”

Cohen said his main reason for taking part was to raise the profile of his charity, the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation.