Talking Points: Rugby a cure for football withdrawals

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

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A suggestion for those going through football withdrawal:

Discover Rugby Sevens.

You will find it at 1 p.m. today on NBC. In some ways, the game is like fast-break football. It is a seven-on-seven version of regular rugby, played on a field that is slightly larger than a football field — so there is plenty of space for play-making.

Plus, this is an international league — and new Olympic sport — so you can root for Team USA and against your choice of rivals.

It can be a little disorienting, at first. Check out an introduction to the game at Deadspin.com.

The "Rugby Cam" that provides the referee's view of the action is neat. And the games are short — two seven-minute halves — so if you can't find a rooting interest in the current match, just wait a few minutes.

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By many accounts, the Portland Timbers preseason is going well as new coach Caleb Porter puts his stamp on the MLS franchise. The Timbers have returned from 12 days in Tucson, winners of three of four preseason matches.

But it has not been a fun preseason for Brent Richards or Bright Dike. Both suffered knee injuries that figure to sideline them for months — at least.

For Dike, the pain is double since he was pushing for a starting spot up front before tearing his ACL. And he missed most of the 2011 season with a torn Achilles tendon, so he has to be feeling a bit jinxed.

For Richards, from Camas, left knee surgery last week delays his chance to compete for playing time in his second professional season.

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