It's started, then. The season has more than a month to run and the players wanting to withdraw from this summer's England tour have already formed an orderly queue.

On Monday, there was the extremely garrulous Lawrence Dallaglio bearing his soul that he might have to miss out on the trip to Australia in order to have the metal plate in his foot removed. His motivation? A pre-season with Wasps and, no doubt, the 2007 World Cup.

Then, yesterday, Matt Stevens was ruled out, having undergone surgery on his shoulder. The Bath prop will be out for up to six months.

I am not suggesting for a minute that there is anything nefarious in their announcements, as both men have given perfectly rational reasons for their actions, but you have to wonder how many more there will be.

How long will it be before Andrew Sheridan's neck is better off rested, Charlie Hodgon's entire body gives up or Lewis Moody sustains another random fracture born out of physical recklessness?

And, more crucially, at what point does the whole exercise become pointless?

I wonder what we can learn about the national side, nay a national side, when the combinations fielded in Australia will be somewhere between second and fifth choice and will be unlikely ever to play together in a meaningful Test match.

Surely, the men who represented England during the autumn internationals and the Six Nations and their clubs on domestic and continental duty would be better served by being told to go on holiday for a month.

Guys like Hodgson, the only world-class fly-half England has still standing, have not had a break for nearly three years and with this summer's tour leading into next season, the 2007 summer tour and then the World Cup that September, he could end up play-ing for as long as five. You wouldn't treat a horse like that.

The truly ground-breaking thing to do would be for the Rugby Football Union to pull out of the jaunt and let their internationals have some time off so that they can come back in July completely refreshed.

They won't do it and probably can't now, but it's just a shame that these players have to struggle with their consciences and pull out on an individual basis.

* Congratulations to Moseley for earning promotion back to National One. They have been the best team in their league by a long way this season and fully deserve to finish as champions.

It hasn't always been pretty - Halifax and Henley at home and Launceston away stick out as particularly unedifying afternoons - but it has always been entertaining.

What has struck me most about the transformation from a youthful, yet green, side that was unceremoniously relegated three years ago, into a powerhouse that has lost just twice all season, is the fact that all but a handful of the players have been there for several seasons now.

To hear captain Gareth Taylor describe himself as something of a newcomer, as he did after Saturday's win in Halifax, tells a story.

"I've only been there three or four years, some of these lads have grown up together," he said.

Of the side that won at Ovenden Park, all but three began the 2004-05 season with victory over Manchester. This is the team, with the addition of Andy Reay, Daren O'Leary and Neil Mason, that finished third that year.

It is also the one that got cowed into submission at Stourbridge and Nuneaton towards the end of that campaign. It's not the personnel that's changed, it's the attitude.

Taylor also pointed out that the Moseley of that year would have lost in Halifax. They'd also have gone under when reduced to 14 men against Waterloo and in the cup game at Stourton Park but they're made of sterner stuff now.

Of course they are a year older, a year stronger and a year wiser but I don't think it's just a case of evolution kicking in. I asked Ben Buxton a couple of weeks ago why the same lads who'd been intimidated at Liberty Way and Stourbridge had become so confident.

"We just decided we'd had enough of being pushed around," was his response.

That they have bounced back from virtual financial obliteration to certain champions in such a short space of time and have done it with homegrown talent is a credit to everyone associated with it.