Portrait #1 François Trinh-Duc, above the scrum
Portrait of François Trinh-Duc, fly half of the French Team.
Sunday evening, Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. France miss out by one point on being crowned world cup winners against New Zealand, the favourites to win the competition. A penalty would have given the advantage to the French but François Trinh-Duc’s attempt from the middle of the pitch goes slightly off to the side. Despite this, Trinh-Duc is a major player in the French team and is fast becoming a star.
A rugby player of Vietnamese origin
François Trinh-Duc is the first rugby player of Vietnamese origin to be part of the French team. His grandfather, Trịnh Đức Nhiên, was born in Vietnam but came to France during the Indochina war (1946-1954). When he arrived in Agen (Lot-et-Garonne), he could not have imagined that his grandson would become one of the best fly-halves in the world.
Although Trinh-Duc never knew his grandfather he hasn’t forgotten about his Vietnamese origins. “My name is Vietnamese, my roots are Vietnamese. I am proud to be Vietnamese.”
Sponsor of the organisation ‘Pour un Sourire d’Enfant’, (‘For a child’s smile’), in 2010 he took part in an Asian tour, mainly in Cambodia, to support rugby in the continent. “It’s a great opportunity to have François with us. He is not only one of the best players in the world, he also has roots which make him an extraordinary model for young people from all over the region. We hope that this first visit will be the beginning of a strong and long-lasting relationship with François,”explained the director of the organisation.
When François Trinh-Duc began his professional career, few people thought that a player of Vietnamese origin could become a rugby star. Since then, François Trinh Duc has appeared 36 times as part of the French team and scored 70 points, including a drop goal against the English in the quarter final.
He is also well known for his unpredictable moves such as this pass between the legs resulting in a try against Scotland. At 25 years old he currently plays for Montpellier in the French Top 14 league.
Just as the sporting successes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Dusautoir, Pi Hongyan and Nikola Karabatic helped to promote cultural diversity, the rise of François Trinh-Duc, thanks to the media coverage of rugby, highlights a bit of French History.