1. No commercials. I just can't watch sports with commercials any more. Right when you start to get into the action you have to see some shit about Geico or Aflac or some shit. OMG what could be more of a scam than supplemental insurance. Maybe I should insure my insurance rate. And insure against my insurance company going bankrupt. And some supplemental umbrella insurance. Now I'm upset, no more watching commercials.
2. No breaks between plays. No instant replay. No timeouts. Just action action all the time.
3. Advantage. I think I did a post about this long ago, but the "advantage" rule for penalties is just so much fucking win. It means that you don't have to stop play for every piddly penalty, you let play keep going as long as the penalizing team has not gained an advantage from the penalty (more precisely, play continues as long as the team that was infringed upon is at an advantage compared to the position they were in at the time of the penalty). This sounds complex but is not and is just 100% win.
4. The refs. The refs in rugby are just uniformly superb. I'm not quite sure why they're so much better than any other sport. They have more autonomy and more freedom to make judgement calls, and they seem to do so well. One aspect perhaps is that most rugby refs have played a bit at the professional level, which I think is rare in other sports.
5. The game is (usually) not decided by penalties. I just can't watch basketball or soccer because of this. Penalties should encourage players to stick to the spirit of the game, the game shouldn't become all about the points you can get off penalties. It ruins the game.
6. The players aren't divers or whiners (mostly). In other sports you see the players taking dives, trying to draw fouls, or going and begging to the ref after plays. WTF, do you have no self respect? You're a grown man and you're diving and whining? WTF. I wonder if they secretly practice flopping in basketball and soccer training camps, or is that something (like taking steroids) that you're supposed to figure out on your own in a kind of nudge-nudge-wink-wink way. Maybe a veteran player takes the rookie under his wings and does some supplement flop and beg practice. I don't know how you can be a fan of a player like Robert Horry or Zidane; oh yeah, I really admire the way they fake being fouled, it's so graceful.
Anyway, I feel like most ruggers just want to get back to play. They want to win the game by smashing through their opponents with ball in hand, not by begging to the ref. And that I respect.
(I must say, watching the recent NZ-France World Cup match I was absolutely disgusted by the sleazy play of the French. Several soccer-style dives trying to draw penalty, one attempt at drawing "obstruction", and the very sleazy try by kicking off while the ref was talking, just absolutely scummy soccer-style tactics, I hope they get their eyes poked in every ruck).
7. Toughness. It's great to watch some big men just brutalize each other. This used to be part of the appeal of American Football but they've all become such delicate flowers now ; oo I have a stubbed toe better get off the field. Back in the day you had guys like Ronnie Lott who gave up a chunk of their thumb to stay on the field. That sort of macho insanity still exists in rugby ; if you get a sprain or even a broken bone or something of course you fucking stay on the field, what are you a pussy? You get off the field when your team doesn't need you any more.
Most of the WC games I've seen so far have been very pretty, good games of rugby, with good discipline and a few flashes of beautiful ball movement and big runs. That's not always the case, though, it can degenerate into a very ugly game. With unskilled teams you get scrums that don't hold together and constantly have to restart, you get lots of bobbled and dropped balls, they can't put together phases, and those games are no fun to watch.