The American Raptors arrived in Córdoba, Argentina on Tuesday to start their final South American leg of their 2023 Super Rugby Americas season.
With two matches remaining in the 2023 campaign, the Raptors are looking to finish the season on a high note with wins over Dogos XV and Cobras Brasil XV. They’ll have the chance to get things going on Sunday when they get their second crack at Dogos.
Defeating Dogos will be no small task. Dogos has compiled an 8-3 record through 11 matches and find themselves in second place in the table with 41 points. They trail first-place Peñarol by four table points and could overtake them with a bonus point win and a Peñarol loss resulting in no bonus points.
When the Raptors and Dogos met back at Infinity Park back in March, it was Dogos that secured a 37-24 victory in what was the Raptors’ first home match of the season. Dogos jumped out to a 24-14 halftime lead, and despite a spirited attempt by the Raptors to claw their way back into the match, Dogos held off the attempt and left with the victory.
Despite that loss in Round 6, that match marked the first time that the world got a glimpse of the potential of the Raptors’ offense. The 24 points that the Raptors scored in that match marked the most points that they had scored in a match to that point.
With the exception of the 63-0 stinker that the Raptors dropped to Pampas two weeks later, that match kicked off offensive outputs of 40 points, 26 points, and two 37-point showings to close out their homestand.
If the Raptors are going to take down Dogos, they are likely going to need to fill up the scoreboard to do it. Dogos has scored the second-most points (328) and tries (41) in the competition. Two players represent Dogos on the league’s leaderboard for points scored. Julián Hernández is third in the league in points scored with 91. He’s scored three tries, kicked 12 penalty goals, and added 20 conversions. Juan Bautista Baronio has scored two tries, kicked three penalty goals and seven conversions to score 33 points and claim the ninth spot on the league leaderboard.
The only Raptor on the board is Lucas Gonzalez, who is smack dab in sixth place with 63 points off 13 penalty goals and 12 conversions.
While Dogos have shown that they can score, they also have shown that they can give up points as well, and that’s good news for the Raptors, as Dogos has also conceded the third most points (271) and tries (35). The Raptors, on the other hand, have scored the fewest points (212) and tries (28) in the league, and have conceded the second most points (384) and tries (53).
Penalties could play a large role in determining the winner of Sunday’s match. The Raptors are no strangers to yellow cards in 2023, but Dogos is the one team in the competition that has been administered more yellows than the Raptors this season. Dogos have totaled 21 yellow cards to the Raptors 19 with two rounds remaining.
The Raptors will take on Dogos in Córdoba, Argentina on Sunday, May 21 at 4 PM MT. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+. Raptors fans in the Denver area are encouraged to attend the official watch party at Maria Empanada on 1298 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80210.