Austin exits Strictly Come Dancing

Rugby star Austin Healey became the latest casualty of Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday night.

He was so close but so far from next weekend’s semi-final.

Earlier, Tom Chambers and his partner Camilla Dallerup and Rachel Stevens and her partner Vincent Simone were saved from the dance-off by the combo of judges’ and public votes, leaving Austin to dance off against model Lisa Snowdon.

Austin and his pro dance partner Erin Boag were first up – and also in their first Strictly dance-off – and performed a fruity salsa, which went down a treat with the studio audience.

But Lisa and partner Brendan Cole then danced an ultra-elegant Viennese Waltz, which stole the show.

Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Arlene Phillips and Bruno Tonioli all decided that they wanted to see Lisa in the semi-final, so Len Goodman’s vote wasn’t required.

Bruno said: “This dance-off was so good and so close that I’d really like to have a roll-over. But sadly I can’t.”

The judges all agreed that this series was the closest in the six-year history of Strictly Come Dancing.

And then there were three…

Earlier in the show, Barry Manilow performed his kitsch classic Copacabana, but wisely remained static while two couples supplied the disco moves on the dance-floor.

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