although in RU players are encouraged to run at space rather than the opposition
Think you might have that wrong way round. RL players aren't coached/encouraged to run into contact. Always for gaps in the defensive line or space behind the ruck. Inevitably players do end up running into contact though, for numerous reasons, for forwards, usually to try and gain a bit of dominance over an oppopsite number.
correct me if i'm wrong, as i don't have a great deal of knowledge on the finer points of union play, but i thought union players, especially the forwards, usually ran into contact as a way of beginning the process of recycling of the ball?
I'll be keeping a keen eye on how big Sam goes..