Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Sunday, 7 December 2008

Rugby star Healey out of Strictly

Austin Healy and Erin Boag
Austin Healey's salsa scored 36 points out of 40

Rugby star Austin Healey has failed to make the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing after losing out in the dance-off to TV presenter Lisa Snowdon.

A relatively poor ballroom dance followed by a vibrant salsa had left Healey at the foot of the leader board.

Snowdon, along with singer Rachel Stevens and Holby City actor Tom Chambers, will now fight it out to dance in the final on 20 December.

Healey paid tribute to his "amazing partner" Erin Boag after going out.

Ratings battle

He also spoke about his wife, who he said had raised their four daughters alone whilst he was away working on Strictly, and thanked the programme for "giving me the chance to be in something so amazing".

Boag added that Healey had been "a great person to dance with".

The former England international had been an early favourite to claim the title.

The show's judges still maintain that it is too difficult to choose the eventual victor.

Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing remains locked in a Saturday night ratings battle with ITV show The X Factor, which reaches its final showdown next Saturday.

The music talent show claimed an audience of 11.6 million, while its BBC rival saw 10.2 million people tune into the quarter-final.

The two shows clashed as The X Factor was moved into an earlier slot to make way for the British Comedy Awards.

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