There has been a lot of progress in the five years since Moseley and Gloucester were at the vanguard of the dual registration and player partnership movement.

Virtually all the clubs in the Premiership and Championship have now either established formal links, or at least identified preferred partners, and fortunately strops like the one that followed Ian Smith and Dean Ryan’s agreement in 2007 are now nonexistent.

Amid the general excitement at Billesley Common, where everyone was flushed by the prospect of Kingsholm’s most talented kiddies appearing in the Red and Black, slumped France international Ludovic Mercier and the latest gem nicked from Rugby League, Karl Pryce.

Both had been sent to Moseley to add a little glamour to the press call announcing the deal yet, as they sulked in moody isolation in the Billesley stand looking like they’d rather be having all their teeth removed without anaesthetic, it was clear the player-sharing concept had less than unanimous support.

While Pryce appeared in a couple of Moseley’s development games to try to hone his union development, Mercier was never so fortunate and - having fallen out of favour with Ryan, Monsieur Points had been sent up the M5 to make a point. Two months later he was turning out for Padova in the Italian Top 10.

The Mercier incident could not contrast more sharply with the attitude adopted by Glyn Hughes, who last year arrived in Birmingham from Northampton as part of his comeback from a serious knee injury.

There was nothing punitive about the arrangement, Northampton needed to rehabilitate their talented fly half, Hughes wanted to play and Moseley required a spark, which is exactly what the Stevenage-born play-maker brought, especially in the victories at London Welsh and Plymouth.

Yet no-one outside the 20-year-old’s inner sanctum can have expected what happened next. The assumption was he would return to Franklin’s Gardens, become a third year academy player and continue to pressurise Stephen Myler and Ryan Lamb in the Saints first team.

But we all know what assume made out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. Hughes turned down the opportunity to remain in the Northampton academy and instead signed a permanent contract with Moseley. How many players can you name that walk out of the Premiership and into the Championship, voluntarily?

“It was a big decision and some of my friends outside of rugby - and even some of the boys at Northampton, were just like ‘What are you doing here? Why are you leaving Northampton?’” Hughes concedes.

“But for my development I thought it was a no-brainer. I wanted to start enjoying my rugby again. I enjoyed coming here and playing but at Northampton I was just sitting there, realistically not going to be involved in the first team - and I knew that. And second team games were few and far between and not really competitive.

“I feel as if I am learning so much more just playing week in week out. It gets to the stage where you have to back yourself, I am not going to sit around and rest on my laurels or hide away in the shadows of a Premiership academy.

“I would rather get out there, get my name noticed and play rugby. I play rugby to play rugby, not to hold a tackle bag for 15 other lads to play at the weekend, that’s not what I am about. It was a big call but I’ve no regrets at all.”

It would, however, be wrong to paint Hughes as a tortured soul, cruelly deprived of the sunlight of regular rugby. He has nothing but kind words to say about his time at Northampton and one senses deep down that he’d like nothing better than to return to Saints with a full season of adult competition under his belt and ask ‘How ‘bout dat?’

Not that it’s the be all or end all. “The Championship is a good standard, if I can hold my own in the Championship, at 20 at fly half, I have not come up against many tens playing at this level at that age, there’s only Jake Sharp really, then I must be doing OK.

“I feel with me improving there will be opportunities. I think it was the right call for me and I stand by that. I realised I have got to be playing and so if I come to the end of the season and there are options on the table I am not going to just jump to go back to a Premiership club just because it’s a Premiership club.

“I want to be a first team player, involved in the squad, respected, whether that’s Premiership or Championship isn’t totally irrelevant but I just want to make sure I am in a decent position.

“I am still young, I have still got plenty more years in me. I don’t want to go back into a similar position that I was at Northampton. I am very, very happy at Moseley. I am improving and only going in the right direction.”

So far this season that direction has been largely forward. By his own admission it took him a few games to discover the break-making ability that marked him out as such a talent in his early rugby.

Yet he remained confident that would always be there. He had come to Moseley to work with Kevin Maggs and learn how to run a match and when and how to employ his mule-kick of a boot.

With Ollie Thomas in such outstanding place-kicking form he has also had to compromise on the point-scoring, on which he has always prided himself.

And game by game his contribution steadily improved until in the match at Bristol a few weeks ago, he exploded by scoring two tries and making the break for Charlie Hayter’s match winning third.

If there was a down-side to the virtuoso performance, though, it came when he hacked the ball off the field to signal the end of the game - and pulled his groin in the process.

That kept him out of the next four matches and it was not until last Saturday, in the draw with Cornish Pirates, that he returned.

Once again the scuttling gait took him clean through the opposition defence early in the first half and even though Ben Pons wasn’t able to convert it into points, it was a sign that Hughes is returning to the form that made a Premiership club want to keep him. Which is something Mercier wasn’t able to claim.