Teddy Thomas has lit up this years six nations with the kind of footwork his nursery rhyme ancestors would have been proud of, one step, two-step and a bit of “round and round the garden” before dotting down over the try line three times in two matches.
The man with the”Man Bun” has been the eye-catching speedster follwing the opening two rounds of the tournament, the nicknames are bound to follow, TGV Ted maybe, or the Racing Rapier, I will leave that for my friends at L’Equipe and Midi Olympique to sort out, but my Welsh imput will consist of “Thomas The Try”
Teddy is born and bred French, with some Malian blood from his father.
In an interview Teddy said “My father abandoned me shortly before my birth”
All he knows about his Dad is that he was born in Bamako, and came to France to play professional football with Saint Etienne and Marseille, but when Teddy was born, on 18 September 1993, his Dad disappeared off the face of the earth.
Born within the shadow of the Biarittz stadium, the young winger was raised by Mum Carole, with his uncle and Grandad providing the fatherly guidance.
It was they that took him to training, encouraging him into the Biarittz academy under the guidance of a great former French wing Patrice Lagisquet.
Teddy bears no bitterness towards his father, just sadness that he didn’t know him.
“I don’t want to judge him, I don’t know the circumstances of his departure and I don’t want to know them”
Teddy Thomas stands at 6ft 1 and weighs in at just over fourteen stones, on his left bicep are two tattoos one shows Mali within a map of Africa, the other is written “Dad” in Latin.
On November 8 2014 he made his French debut against Fiji, on the left-wing, scoring a try in the first minute, he went on to complete a hat trick that day.
He has scored eight tries in thirteen matches for his country a pretty good ratio, those of us craving a return of the French rugby flair that lit up our youth, are pinning an awful lot of our hopes on the young Racing 92 player, to lead French back play from the darkness in to the light.
It is a bitter irony that due to incidents in Edinburgh,after the Scotland gamein February, which resulted in his suspension, the flying winger was unable to face Italy, at the velodrome, the ground where his Dad played professional football for Marseille.
Teddy gives us old folks hope that French flair is still alive and well and with a long season of Top 14, and international matches ahead “TGV Teddy” can light up the winter darkness before shining at the Rugby World in the land of the rising sun.