Match Day. Closing a hotel room door, down into the team room. Up into a hotel lobby full of supporters in red shirts, of cheers and applause and shouts of good luck.
This is where the story of Alun Wyn Jones’s journey begins, the story that every child who has dreamt of playing rugby for their country starts with. From the tightness in your stomach to the look on your team-mates’ faces, the adrenaline starting to flow within.
Belonging is the story about how the boy left Mumbles and returned as the most capped rugby player of all time. It is the story of what it takes to become a player who is seen by many as one of the greatest Welsh players there has ever been. What it takes to go from sitting, crossed legged on the hall floor at school, watching the 1997 Lions Tour of South Africa to being named the 2021 Lions Captain.
But is it also about perthyn – belonging, playing for Wales, working your way through the age-grades and the club matches and regional sides. What it takes to earn the right to be there, and what it feels like to make the sacrifices along the way. Feeling the bond to the great players not long gone, and feeling the ties to the millions in front rooms and pubs across the hillsides and the valleys, coast to coast. Knowing that deep down you just want to belong, be a part of it, as everyone does.
From the rain swept pitches of Swansea to making his test debut against Argentina in Patagonia in 2006, from touring with the Lions in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021 to losing a father and building a family, Belonging is the autobiography of one of the most compelling figures in World rugby. 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.