Hi rugby ref,
I've been hooking 13 years. On occasion, an opposing hooker intentionally goes head to head during '"bind," blocking me from correct head position at the 'cup' of my opposing hooker and prop. Then at "set" the hooker ducks into the 'cup' of the shoulders.
The ref calls "set" once the front rows are ready. Are hookers head to head considered 'ready' for "set"?
The law states that front row players must interlock heads, ear to ear. On the command "Crouch" and "Bind" front row players are expected to be in a position ready for "Set".
20.1 (f) Front rows coming together. First, the referee marks with a foot the place where thescrum is to be formed. Before the two front rows come together they must be standing notmore than an arm’s length apart. The ball is in the scrum half’s hands, ready to be thrown in.The front rows must crouch so that when they meet, each player’s head and shoulders areno lower than the hips. The front rows must interlock ear against ear so that no player’shead is next to the head of a team-mate.The Rugby Ref would not consider hookers being forehead to forehead as being ready. This is usually a tactic by one or the other hooker to intimidate the opposition, and as such it is a potential flashpoint.
The Rugby Ref would stand up a scrum forming in that way and explain that heads need to be "in the gap". So the answer to your question is "No".
Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref