It is with a good deal of trepidation and, let it be said against some valued advice, that I am about to reveal a discreditable knowledge of Whitney Houston lyrics. But they seem so apposite that I can't resist.

Houston, a troubled being whose music, body and soul appear in terminal decline, once proclaimed - apparently without a hint of irony - her profound belief that children are the future and that they should not only be taught well but allowed to lead the way. Enough.

Her sentiments, if not her work, could be undergoing something of a renaissance if the evidence of the last couple of years is worth anything as several of the area's leading rugby clubs recognise the importance of investing in youth.

In the last couple of weeks, the rewards for doing exactly that have become increasingly apparent - at every level of the sport.

In the Guinness Premiership, Gloucester have shown faith in their youngsters by handing over their entire three-quarter line to a bunch of kids who have as much of a problem with nappy rash as they do opposition defenders.

Ryan Lamb, the teenage fly-half who looked like a lost little boy when playing in National One with Pertemps Bees, has torn Worcester to shreds twice in two weeks.

By his side? Another 19-year-old, Anthony Allen, a diminutive inside centre whose balanced running and sleight of hand so confounded the Warriors midfield.

The sight of young Englishmen making clean breaks and setting up pitch-length tries was truly magnificent. Hats off to Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan and, perhaps more so, his assistant Brian Redpath, for having the courage to field such inexperienced players at a crucial point in their pursuit of Heineken Cup rugby.

Then, of course, there's Moseley. National Two champions this season with a team built from the dust of the one that was ground out of the First Division three years ago.

Half of the side which claimed the title against Launceston last weekend played in the final National One match of that demotion season against Exeter; most of them are now in their mid-20s and living proof that a rugby club is only as strong as its smallest members.

For the first time in the professional era, they can truly be said to have found an identity with which they are comfortable.

As Firoz Kassam circled in the skies of Birmingham and the bailiffs hammered on the door, Moseley's youth teams kept them alive. They understand that now.

And for every member who claims he can see Moseley playing Gloucester in the Heineken Cup in his lifetime, you don't have to look too far to find someone willing to say they're not bothered about the Premiership.

They run a competitive second team, have a reasonable amount of fluidity between that and the first XV and, on Sunday, their Under-17s and Under-16s won their respective cup competitions.

It's not much of an exaggeration to say that produced as much pride as the win over Launceston. They are, after all, the coming generation and, in these mercenary times, the best chance of engendering any sort of brand loyalty.

Elsewhere, Rugby Lions have secured promotion back into National League rugby with a hugely successful Midlands One campaign.

Their 20 league victories have come with a side built on home-grown talent and here is a club who had developed money-throwing into an Olympic sport.

Even at Webb Ellis Road, things have changed. Of the team that beat Market Bos-worth in their final game in regional rugby, ten players came from their minis, juniors or colts.

The aim is to reach the upper echelons of the national leagues with 70 per cent organic produce.

And, below them, Broad-street - a club who have suffered with the best of them in recent seasons - have won Midlands Two West with a young team forged in the adversity of relegation.

They now step back to level five with real conviction that not only will they do well but they'll do it, as one director of rugby described it this season: "The right way."