Few things went right for the American Raptors in Round 8.
The positive momentum that the Raptors had garnered throughout the first two home matches vanished on Sunday afternoon, as Pampas routed the Raptors to the tune of a 63-0 victory that saw the visitors score a whopping 10 tries. The Raptors had scored 10 tries in their previous two matches and have totaled 14 tries through seven matches this season.
Sunday’s loss to Pampas was the first shutout of the 2023 Super Rugby Americas season, and only the second shutout in league history. The first came in Round 2 of the 2022 season, in a match that saw Peñarol defeat Cafeteros Pro 44-0.
For Pampas, the victory solidified their third-place positioning in the standings and created eight points of separation between the fourth place Yacare XV.
Before Round 8, the Raptors largest margin of defeat came in Round 1 at the hands of Selknam, their next opponent. The Raptors fell 45-10 on the road in Chile to open the season but made considerable progress on the field as they worked their way through the rest of the season up until the Round 8 loss to Pampas.
Selknam’s season has taken a downward turn since the opening two rounds. After convincing wins in their first two matches, the 2022 SLAR runner-up find themselves in a four-match slide. Three of the four matches have been decided by double-digits, and Selknam has sunk to fifth place in the standings with 11 table points.
As the playoff picture begins to take shape, the fourth and final playoff spot appears to be the most realistic option for the four teams – Yacare XV, Selknam Cobras Brasil XV, and the American Raptors – at the bottom of the table.
A Round 9 victory could provide the jolt that both the Raptors and Selknam need to salvage their season in the remaining weeks. A win, and the four table points that come with the victory, would do wonder for both clubs that find themselves on the outside looking in with five matches remaining.
The Raptors will host Selknam at Infinity Park on Saturday, April 22nd. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 PM Mountain Time. Tickets can be purchased by visiting AmericanRaptors.com/schedule-and-tickets, and the match will be broadcast on ESPN+.