When Stuart Lancaster announced his England squad for the autumn internationals yesterday, most of the commentary focused around the back-row combinations and who will fill the No.8 shirt against Australia on November 2.
While Lancaster’s choice seems to be a straight one between Billy Vunipola and Ben Morgan, many people’s leading contender – Sam Dickinson – could not even be considered because of an arrangement between the RFU and the clubs which restricts the player pool.
If, or perhaps when, Dickinson gets his Six Nations call-up, writers will no doubt illustrate how far and how quickly the Northampton man has come by referring to the fact that in April he was playing for Moseley in the Championship.
What they probably won’t record is that Dickinson, while hardly a Moseley player, is far from the only forward to have worn the Red and Black No.8 shirt and been catapulted on to bigger and better things.
While we are not talking about anyone of the stature of Al Charron, several have gone on to represent their countries.
Here, the Birmingham Post looks back at some of the most recent.
James Rodwell (Moseley 2004-10, England Sevens)
Most definitely a Moseley player, brought to the club from Birmingham University by team manager John Caves, Rodwell developed quickly to become a crucial part of Ian Smith’s promotion and cup-winning team.
Indeed, on a rugby field the fleet-footed Thing from Tring did most things quickly and during his time at Billesley Common he was named the club’s U21 player of the year in 2004-05, the players’ player in 2006-07 and supporters’ player in 2008-09. That was his finest season, when he scored 17 tries as part of a free-running, Gloucester-themed team who wrote their names in club folklore.
By that time, though, he was already living a double life with England Sevens having made his debut in Dubai in December 2008, a fact that irritated Ian Smith and ultimately led to a parting.
Rodwell has gone on to become England Sevens’ most capped forward and, at 29 years old, he’s still at it, last weekend scoring twice in England’s third-place play-off win in the Gold Coast.
Ryan Wilson (Moseley 2009-10, Glasgow and Scotland)
Brought from the nether regions of the London Irish academy to challenge Rodwell, Wilson’s muscularity and ball carrying belied his 20 years and injury-chequered past.
By the end of his only season at Billesley Common he had replaced Rodwell in Smith’s affections, helped Mose stay in the Championship and attracted the interest of Celtic League side Glasgow.
The Londoner moved north, since when he has played 68 times in league and Heineken Cup and also won his first cap for Scotland in this year’s Six Nations. He now has four caps and made his first start against the Springboks in June.
Mike Ellery (Moseley 2010-12, England Sevens)
Brought from the nether regions of the Newcastle academy to replace Rodwell and Wilson and spent two contrasting campaigns in Birmingham.
The first got off to a bad start when he broke his hand in pre-season. A couple of average games and a suspension for a headbutt later and first impressions were pretty unimpressive.
How wrong they were, 2011-12 belonged to Ellery, who fizzed off nine tries – many long-range efforts that left opposition threequarters clutching at his vapour trail. It was too good to last.
Moseley’s bete noir, Russell Earnshaw, poached the Cumbrian for England Sevens duty and, guess what, after an injury-blighted first year, he’s saved his best for his second. Ellery recently moved from forward to centre and was part of the Sevens side that finished third in Australia last weekend.
Ben Pienaar (Moseley 2012-13, London Welsh)
Needing a break from his injury nightmare at Leicester, former national schoolboy judo champion Pienaar pitched up at Moseley looking to rebuild his career. After a slow start behind a retreating pack, the 27-year-old became a key factor in the post-Christmas improvement with his strong carrying and intelligent decision-making. Before Welsh offered an inevitable return to full-time rugby.
Chevvy Pennycook: The versatile back-rower spent three seasons battling himself to a standstill for Moseley before moving to London Scottish in 2012. Best remembered for single-handedly inspiring Moseley to safety in 2011.
Mark Evans: A true modern Moseley legend, made over 200 appearances for the club before combining part-time rugby at Old Halesonians with his teaching career.
Chris Brightwell: One that came up the M40 from England Sevens. Showing signs he could be just as impactful as his predecessors.
Buster Lawrence: Undoubtedly gifted, but will he stay long enough to show how gifted he is in Moseley’s No.8 shirt?