The theory that Moseley's first team has finally learned to stand up for itself is one being touted not just by their supporters, but by their players too.

Centre Paul Cox, one of his team's outstanding performers in Saturday's 20-7 dismantling of Stourbridge, has argued the win at Stourton Park shows that the National Two favourites are no longer prepared to be bullied by more rugged opponents.

It was the first time in four league games that Moseley have beaten their local rivals, ending a sequence of defeats in which they had failed to play their natural expansive game after being dominated upfront.

The former Colt scored the best try of the match, a 50-metre interception that broke Stour's resistance, but was equally prominent in his team's courageous defensive performance and he now believes that they boast a new-found physical edge.

"Last year, we lacked a bit of dog and teams like Stourbridge really got amongst us," Cox admitted. "This time, we just came and gave it back to them by playing rugby and not reacting to any cheap shots.

"We are definitely older, wiser and stronger. We have been together for about five years and, each year, we have become more mature but, this season, it just seems to have clicked and we are getting better and better with each game."

None more so than Cox himself. The stocky centre was part of the team that was battered into relegation from National One three seasons ago and was only a bit-part in the side that took time to adapt to life at level three.

Having played 14 times in their first National Two campaign, he flitted in and out of the starting line-up last season to score twice in 17 appearances.

But after a strong preseason and inspirational start to this term, Cox looks to have permanently filled a problem position for his head coach, Ian Smith.

Five players wore the No 12 shirt in 2004-05 as Smith shuffled his threequarter line in an attempt to find the right combination. With new recruit Daren O'Leary apparently cemented into the outside centre slot, the solution inside him seems to have always been there.

"I have learned a lot in the last few years, especially getting relegated from National One," he said. "I've grown more experienced with the rest of the team and now I'm in it, I just want to prove myself.

"I am delighted with my form, I don't think I've played this well before but the team is playing well and that has really lifted me. Hopefully, they have found the right inside centre."

Across the city, Pertemps Bees will be without Rob Elloway for their National One game against London Welsh at Old Deer Park on Saturday.

The young hooker, who is on loan from Gloucester, has been suspended for two weeks for striking an opponent during a Zurich Premiership A League game against Bath at Kingsholm on Monday night.

He was yellow-carded in the incident and admitted the offence, thereby incurring the suspension imposed by an internal disciplinary panel convened by Gloucester's director of rugby, Dean Ryan. The suspension has been supported by Bees.

Elloway, who made his Bees debut as a replacement in last Saturday's win over Plymouth Albion, is free to resume playing again on September 27, which means that he will also miss their game at Sedgley Park three days before. His place on the bench at London Welsh is likely to go to Ben Gerry.

Elloway said: "I accept the findings of the internal disciplinary hearing and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the individual involved and to the club and my team-mates for my actions in the A-team fixture."