Belfast Telegraph

Rugby Cohen star leaves Strictly scrum

By James Edgar

FORMER England rugby star Ben Cohen has said playing in a World Cup final was easier than taking part in Strictly Come Dancing.

The 35-year-old was booted in to touch from the ballroom contest after failing to out-tackle actor Mark Benton in the dance-off.

Cohen and his partner, Kristina Rihanoff, racked up just 27 points on Saturday – the lowest score of the night – and the panel members stuck to their guns in the crunch head-to-head with Benton.

But the ex-Northampton and England winger said he came in to the competition with low expectations, and he believed if he was not voted off this week, he would have been sent home in the next round.

Speaking after his exit, he said: "It's been a great experience and Kristina has been great. It has been an amazing experience."

Asked how the contest compared to his illustrious career in rugby, he said: "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've played in a World Cup final, a Heineken Cup final, but I found it easier playing in a World Cup final than being on Strictly."

Cohen said a highlight of his time on the show was working with his dance partner Kristina.

The former sportsman, who became a crowd favourite for characterful performances, hailed the audience for their support after his final performance.

"They jumped out of their seats," he said.

"The crowd erupting was a nice reward for effort."

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