Ugo Monye has admitted his body ‘wasn’t willing’ to do the things he needed on Strictly Come Dancing following his back injury.
The rugby player, 38, became the fourth celebrity eliminated from this year’s series on Sunday as he and professional dance partner Oti Mabuse lost the dance off wth Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu.
Speaking on Strictly: It Takes Two, he said: ‘I think everyone appreciates that health is the most important thing and I can’t be any more grateful for Oti and the person that she is and the coach that she is but unfortunately, my body wasn’t quite willing to do the things that my head was telling me.’
Honest: Ugo Monye has admitted his body ‘wasn’t willing’ to do the things he needed on Strictly Come Dancing following his back injury
Ugo had to bow out of week four due to his injury with Oti admitting the couple felt like they were back at square one when he returned.
She said: ‘I think for both of us, it felt like we were starting from the beginning. This felt officially like Week One where we could still build up and get to the top of that leader board.
‘But, we did give our best and [Ugo] did try so hard during the week and he was managing his injury.
‘All week, I was asking, “are you okay?” but for me, what I really loved and appreciated was that he didn’t complain and he wanted to be there. There was this drive, this will and passion for this beautiful show.’
Sent home: The rugby player, 38, became the fourth celebrity eliminated from this year’s series on Sunday as he and professional dance partner Oti Mabuse lost the dance off wth Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu
Ugo added: ‘To do my last dance with Oti was amazing and you don’t want it to be your last dance but I had a phenomenal five weeks on the biggest show on the telly.’
When asked about training for the Rumba, Ugo said: ‘We’ve had the best time. We have laughed a lot. When Oti kept saying to me that I had to be sexy and sultry, I was like, ‘what does that even mean?!’
He continued: ‘It was good fun though, it was nice to do something a bit slow and different. I know the Rumba is a really tough Latin dance but in fairness, you’re on the show to push yourself and push your boundaries… it’s all been about brand new experiences for me and I absolutely loved it, even though it was my last dance.’
When looking back at their best bits from their time on the show, Ugo said: ‘I do look back at my time with zero regrets. Did I have more to give? Yeah, I think so.
He said: I can’t be any more grateful for Oti and the person that she is and the coach that she is
‘Did I have more to give than the remaining contestants? Absolutely not because they are spectacular! So, genuinely, for me to do Strictly was amazing. It’s a BBC institution and to be able to do it with Oti was incredible.’
Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke all opted to save Rhys – with Shirley Ballas adding that she would have made the same decision.
Craig said: ‘I just want to say I have the greatest respect for every celebrity who is brave enough to come on this show and bare their heart and soul to the nation, it takes guts.’
Anton added: ‘Well, it so often turns out that the dance off seems to instill something in the couples and they’ve produced their best performances.’
Tough competition: TV presenter Rhys Stephenson, 27, and Nancy Xu, 30, survived the dance off (pictured on Saturday)
Ugo, who is to be as a pundit on A Question Of Sport, told host Tess Daly: ‘I’ve loved it. It’s an absolute privilege to be on this show and all I’ve wanted to do every week is just get a little bit better and I’ve done that.’
He went on to thank his choreographer Oti for ‘putting up’ with him, before wishing his fellow contestants good luck.
‘To the judges – Craig – I think it’s really important to say that if you’re willing to accept the positive comments, you have to accept the criticism as well so thank you for all of your comments,’ he concluded.
Oti added: ‘I stand here in this very moment feeling very, very grateful. I am so grateful to be partnered with you.
Tried their best: After missing last week due to a back injury, there was no sympathy from Craig Revel Horwood, who told Ugo that his dance ‘lacked musicality’ and was ‘stiff and heavy footed’
‘Thank you for having me as a teacher, as a trainer. To say I work on the best show in the whole country, with the best celebrities is a privilege and I am very grateful to [Ugo], thank you, thank you, thank you.’
It comes after he was forced to pull out of last week’s show due to a back injury.
The rugby union player told his Twitter followers in a heartfelt post, ‘Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to dance this weekend on the show.
‘I have a history of back problems which has always been managed under the guidance of medical professionals. Unfortunately this has been causing me some unwanted problems this week!’
Star power: Judges Craig Revel Horwood (far left), Motsi Mabuse (centre left) and Anton Du Beke (far right) all opted to save Rhys – with Shirley Ballas (centre right) adding that she would have made the same decision
Ugo concluded that he was ‘gutted’ to not be returning to the dance floor this weekend alongside Oti.
‘Wishing all the other contestants the best of luck & will be cheering them on from home.’
Strictly – It Takes Two continues every weeknight at 6:30pm on BBC Two and Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday and Sunday nights on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Well done: Rhys Stephenson and his dance partner Nancy Xu applauded Ugo and Oti after facing the eliminated couple in the dance-off