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Silly season” may be stretching it but the fact Jonny May’s transfer from Gloucester to Leicester has forced Premiership clubs to close a contractual loophole – not to mention Amos Youth Jersey earned him the nickname “Neymar” – is further evidence of a burgeoning transfer market in rugby union.


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May swapped Kingsholm for Welford Road on Monday for a fraction of the £200m the Brazil footballer cost Paris Saint-Germain but as far as rugby in England is concerned, the move was just as significant. It came about because the wing activated a clause in the Premiership’s code of conduct which meant that, despite having a year left on his contract, Gloucester could not stop him talking to other teams.


Premiership clubs have closed the loophole but earlier this summer Northampton were powerless to stop Louis Picamoles leaving after 12 months of his three-year contract, for what is believed to be the first seven-figure transfer fee, while Bath were in a similar position over George Ford’s return to Leicester.


It is a climate that means players such as Chris Robshaw, who has signed a three-year contract extension with his one and only club, Harlequins, are an increasingly rare breed. The 31-year-old revealed it has never crossed his mind to seek a future away from the Stoop but acknowledges the changing landscape, citing the kind of pulling power English clubs now have - as demonstrated on Thursday with Bristol’s capture of New Zealand’s Charles Piutau for next season.


“It is coming more and more into the game with TV money,” Robshaw said. “People aren’t necessarily letting contracts run out which is what they used to do. I have signed a contract extension with a year still left. When I first started you were waiting a lot further down the line to address that.



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“Jonny May has had a little bit of stick about being called Neymar. They are slightly different contracts I am sure. Because people are looking at players from other clubs or poaching – the game is changing but it is great for the game. The league is competitive now, not only from an English point of view, we are attracting players that traditionally would have gone http://www.nflbengalsofficialshop.com/Nike-William-Jackson-Jersey.html to France or Japan – look at the Schalk Burgers, the Willie le Rouws and the Kurtley Beales.”


While Harlequins have tied Robshaw to a new deal, the director of rugby, John Kingston, admits he has his work cut out to keep hold of several promising young English players, led by the Lions prop, Kyle Sinckler. “The market has gone stupid in the last few years,” Kingston said. “The hike in the salary cap ceiling, whatever the idea was behind it, what it has done is inflate the top of the market. Everyone does things for money to a certain extent, it is all relative to what it is.”


Eddie Jones, who recently said England would “win the World Cup with a team of Chris Robshaws”, is in Japan with a number of his backroom staff assessing training bases and hotels. Jones intends to take England to Japan two weeks before the competition and wants to play a warmup match in that time. “We’ll look to come here around 3-6 September,” he said. “We are looking to play similar teams to the ones we face in the pool stagesWe have become used to seeing Laura Muir curled up in the foetal position after a desperate last-lap charge, her body drained of petrol and puff. But not, usually, after she has finished seventh in a heat. However this was the 5,000m, a distance she has run only once all year, so she was understandably relieved just to squeeze into Sunday’s final as a fastest loser.


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“I ran as hard as I could,” said Muir, who took more than a minute to rise to her feet after crossing the line in 14min 59.34sec, nearly three seconds behind the Kenyan Hellen Obiri. “That was fast. I’v Zach Strief Jersey been looking at the times of 5,000m heats from previous championships and that’s the fastest ever.”


The 24-year-old said she had put the ghosts of Monday’s 1500m final, where she missed out on a bronze medal by 0.07sec, behind her. But, on this evidence, her legs are still haunted by the extreme effort she put them through, particularly on a brutal last lap.


“I took a day to think about the 1500m and after that put it behind me,” Muir said. “I watched the race back, talked about it with my coach and my family, and it took about a day to analyse it all and put it into perspective. At the end of the day, fourth in the world is bloody good.


“It’s the best I’ve ever achieved in a global final. It’s better than seventh in Rio and the closest I’ve been to the front.


“So mentally I was very positive for this race. My body felt fine apart from that last lap. I have two or three days before the final so I should recover.”



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And she has not ruled out an unlikely medal despite Obiri, the 10,000m gold medallist Almaz Ayana and the Dutch star Hassan Sifan being lined up against her. “I know I’m better than I ran and hopefully I can show it in the final,” she said. “Anything can happen.”


Muir will have the company of a fellow Scot, Eilish McColgan, in the final after she set a personal best of 15:00.38 in finishing fourth behind the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey, much to her surprise and delight.


“I’m so shocked with that time,” said McColgan, who judged her race perfectly and had plenty of kick left at the finish. “It was so slow at the start. We are not allowed to see the previous race so we were jumping over trying to see the time anytime the door opened. So we knew it was quick, the fastest losers’ spots were crazy.


“For me, usually 15 minutes over 5,000m has my eyeballs out from the start. I’m over the moon with that, I’m really, really happy. I felt like I wanted to push the pace a little bit to at least string it out because my mum said don’t turn it into to a 200m mad sprint – and that’s exactly what ended up happening. I couldn’t have asked for any more – automatic qualification and a new personal best.”


However Britain’s third athlete in the 5,000m, Steph Twell, looked well below her best in finishing 15th in McColgan’s heat in a modest 15:41.29.


“It wasn’t me out there,” she said. “I just couldn’t respond. My body didn’t quite feel right, so I’m absolutely disappointed, but it was an awesome experience. I was trying not http://www.authentichurricanestore.com/justin-faulk-jersey_c-447.html to think about the race too much, but at the same time enjoy it and try to keep pushing forward, but I just didn’t have it in me

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