You've got it right. Reminds me of a time when I was refereeing a match, and though I warned both sides after it occurred once not to do so, someone jumped early in a lineout, and I awarded the free kick. It was near half time, and at that whistle the coach from the penalized team told me that the team throwing in could have a jumper jump early. I went to my bag on the sidelines, got out the law book, and showed him the law and that it applied to both teams. Refereeing I've seen lots of weird things, and one of them is when a pass thrown goes off the face of the player the ball was passed to. It's not a knock on, but like a kick, and therefore that player has to put onside those on his team if any are ahead. I've also seen teams putting in the ball during an uncontested scrum lose it when the ball went off the hookers foot into the second row of the opposition. It's supposed to be replayed, but I've let play go on, if the game was well out of hand as to who was to win, and there was no pushing between the forwards.
Law 21.3 refers to taking a penalty kick or free kick, in that the knee or heel is excluded, though the leg below the knee to the foot can be used. So this wasn't a free kick or penalty kick, so I guess it was okay. Here's another situation that has happened to me twice, in games where the outcome was in no doubt (one team ahead by a huge score, and more than halfway through the second half), in which uncontested scrums were decided upon after a few collapses earlier in the match (these were women's matches by the way). Uncontested should mean the team putting the ball in must win. It's what that law states. Well, when the ball has ricocheted from the hookers foot straight into the opposing forward's back row, I've let the "losing scrum team/losing the match team" heel the ball back to their scrum half and win the scrum. Why not if there was absolutely no pushing by either side? If a team can't control their own put in during an uncontested scrum, they deserve to lose the ball! If a try was scored from that lost tight head, even better!
Do you think head clashes are more common now than in the past? Good point you make about how the game is played, and the safety needed and laws applied to make the game safe. You mentioned not wrapping with the arms. Some of the worst I see, and not always called, is a player going full blast into a ruck situation to clear out an opposing player, just charging in, not in control and not wrapping. It's dangerous, and if the ball has already just been picked out of the ruck, or heeled back out of a ruck, it's also obstruction, as the ruck is over and no longer in process.
One last comment about the previous match: it wasn't televised live in America, but some two hours after the fact. I went on YouTube the other day and downloaded the RTE highlights vid. Trust me, most of you who live in the UK, or NZ, or anywhere else where rugby is much more popular, you'd have gotten a few chuckles out of hearing the American broadcasting crew. Of course the Dublin match wasn't on our TV here in the States, unless one has one of those special channels, if it is even on the cable network that is subscribed to, as many cable providers do not even have those sports networks available to purchase. Then one has to find a website on the Internet and pay up front money. NBC Sports Channel broadcast the Chicago match.
I should think 21-9 isn't exactly, with tries now worth 5 points instead of 4 or 3, a "blowout" of any sorts. Some of the commentators a few weeks back suggested that New Zealand were going to win by 50 points or so, or at least by a very large score. I never thought that would happen, but I questioned whether Ireland could pull off two straight against the All Blacks. Having said all that the score line does suggest, and I haven't seen any highlights let alone the match itself, that there weren't all that many scoring opportunities overall, or if there were, neither team capitalized to get the sort of scoring in the previous match. The comment about not being able to beat New Zealand with a mere 9 points says heaps. In modern times I don't know if anyone has beaten New Zealand, or drawn even, with less than 15. »