Hi Hacker, thought this deserved a reply. My interest in union is probably similar to a union's fan of league, i,e I see it a few times on TV and it bores me. All the "purist" stuff you mention plus this new found urge to go through 27 "phases" were they basically have a big man plough head down into another big man one metre away. We see things different ways.Unfortunately, I think that one of the biggest barriers that rugby union has in attracting casual fans is that you have to have some understanding of the game to appreciate it - Its complicated, and with modern defences it's a chess game.
It's a hard line to toe as by simplifying or trying to make it flow more and attract new fans you drive away the rugbys "purists" who love the battles within the game (kicking, scrums, pick and goes, mauls etc).
Rugby league is more simple, more flowing and has some serious displays of athleticism and power but I find it rather boring to watch.
Having said that I played union for 20 years at various levels but some of my most enjoyable times on the pitch were during a brief foray into lower level rugby league. There was no efforts to move defences or break them down, it was just run hard and straight. In defence i absolutely loved it and in attack i felt like i was finding it surprisingly easy to make yards simply by arcing runs and stepping into gaps rather than just ploughing into the defence. My hand-off was always my strongest weapon in attack and the upright nature of tackling meant I was able to use it with gay abandon.
In one game me and a big kiwi bloke were just having a running battle, both just seeking each other out all game. It was brilliant .
I agree rugby league is simple game to watch, its uncomplicated and the uninitiated can pick up the rules fairly easily. I'd disagree its a simple game to play.
Using your own example, like yourself it was very similar to that when I've played it, that also was at the very lowest levels. I have to say though it took more than an arcing run to break a defence, the opposition had this annoying habit of moving to close the gap.
But when you say, "there was no effort to move defences or break them down" is that not indicative of the level you played at?
Because it doesn't really stack up with union first of all hiring league coaches to show them how to defend and then having to hire more league coaches to show them how to break said defences.
A few years ago I watched Castleford put on a scrum play move that I'd never seen before (and I watch a lot of games). It resulted in the Castleford winger walking in in the corner untouched. Imagine my surprise when I saw Scotland put on the same play with the same result eight days later in the six nations. Co incidence?