Posted 20 hours ago

Belonging: The Autobiography

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In March 2009 against Italy he captained the Welsh side for the first time before being selected on the 2009 Lions Tour of South Africa. Afterwards, he was repeatedly asked if public criticism of him by Warren Gatland had caused a rift between him and his head coach.His status within Wales and the wider rugby fraternity puts him on a par with other greats such as Barry/The King, Gareth, JPR, JJ, etc, and he is recognisable simply as “ Alun Wyn”. He was subsequently selected for the 2013 Lions Tour of Australia, and the 2017 Lions Tour of New Zealand. You don’t have to work within the sport to grasp Alun Wyn Jones’s reluctance to engage with the media.

What it takes to go from sitting cross-legged on the hall floor at school watching the 1997 Lions tour of South Africa, to being named the 2021 Lions captain. He offers sharp analysis of colleagues he has worked with – Shaun Edwards, Gavin Henson, Fox Davies, Leigh Halfpenny – and there is recognition that he can improve as both as a father and a husband. This (ghost written) book goes some of the way to peeking behind the curtain to look at the man behind the myth. He is often presented in the media as being stand offish and not the shy and focused player that he sees himself to be. A good, gentle read providing a fairly candid insight into the mind of Alun Wyn Jones and his dedication to the game of rugby, to Wales, the thrill of Lions rugby and, probably most significantly, the character of Warren Gatland.This personal dedication to developing character by working hard and achieving personal satisfaction was evident at a young age. On 31 October 2020, against Scotland, he became the most capped rugby player of all time, with 149 caps. He was subsequently selected for the 2013 Lions Tour of Australia and the 2017 Lions Tour of New Zealand. Belonging is the story about how the boy from Mumbles became the most capped rugby union player of all time.

He’s made 23 consecutive starts against England yet there is no rabid satisfaction in beating the auld enemy, he doesn’t get swept up in any racist nonsense. His success almost appears to come as a surprise to him but his single-minded approach, clearly helped by considerable ability, is what comes shining through, not least in his remarkable rehabilitation from injury to make it back onto the Lions tour of South Africa in 2021. Told with unflinching honesty, this is the ultimate story of what it takes and what it means to play for your country: what it means to belong. Someone who never takes selection for granted, so much so that he views the eve-of-Test meal as the Last Supper because it might never happen again. From the tightness in your stomach to the look on your team-mates' faces, the adrenaline starting to flow within.He has worked with young players at Fulham, Chelsea, QPR and Wrexham, promoting resilience, tenacity and self-discipline. He felt the reaction to him giving his jacket to the freezing-cold mascot at the Wales-Ireland Grand Slam game was over the top. In how he plays, how he competes, how he represents where he comes from and in how he treats people. The top-right hand corners of four pages in the middle of the book had been folded in to form triangles about an inch deep. Told with characteristic honesty, this is his unique personal story of what it takes and what it means to play for your what it means to belong.

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