London - Alun Wyn Jones's outstanding captaincy of Wales seen to such dramatic
effect in last season's Six Nations Grand Slam triumph has been helped
no end by being a father, he told The Daily Telegraph.
The second row forward - who will become Wales's most capped player
with 126 caps if he faces England at Twickenham on Sunday - is the
father of two daughters, Mali, 4, and one-year-old Efa.
Jones, who will be 34 by the time Wales begin their World Cup
campaign against Georgia on September 23 in Japan, said prior to having
children with his wife, university lecturer Anew, he did not have much
thought for his team-mates.
"When I was a young professional, I was quite selfish and self-focused," he said.
"You care for yourself because you ultimately want to achieve your goals."
Jones -- capped nine times by the British and Irish Lions -- says
fatherhood has made him more interested in his team-mates and as a
result he is aware of why some might not be performing at their best.
"It (fatherhood) has made me think about how everyone experiences bereavement, birth, good times, and bad times," he said.
"Everybody has a story, if you scratch the surface a little bit; it
helps you understand why somebody might not be performing well.
"It is nice then to find out when someone has some positive news.
"Having children has definitely made me want to find out more about
the people I play with, and it has made me think a bit more about my
team-mates as people and their families.
"I want people to know about my family and it is good to share any questions or qualms with the other guys."
Jones, who has
been part of three Grand Slam winning sides, said being closer to one's
team-mates means easing the burden when they are on tour and they can
talk about missing important family events.
"Sometimes the biggest support is that you can talk, everybody is
going through the same things but at different times, it could be a
missed wedding anniversary, anything - it is not rocket science, it is
just a case of talking about it," said Jones.
Jones, whose post rugby career looks destined to be in the legal
world as he has a law degree, says being a father has not necessarily
made him a better player.
Others might beg to differ with him being named player of the Six
Nations and the likes of former Wales flyhalf Jonathan Davies saying he
is the greatest player to don the Welsh jersey.
"Hopefully, it has made me perform better, which is a different thing
to being a better player - having that responsibility makes rugby the
outlet, so I get the opportunity to really express myself at rugby," he