The American Raptors are hoping to head back to South America with one more victory in their back pocket and they will have that opportunity on Sunday afternoon when Yacare XV comes to town for the home finale at Infinity Park.
Yacare XV handed the Raptors a 25-3 loss in Paraguay in what was the last of a four-match stint in South America back in Round 4. The only points of the match came off a Lucas Gonzalez penalty goal in the first half. The Raptors didn’t make much noise otherwise as Yacare XV cruised to their second victory of the season.
Since then, Yacare XV has managed to maintain their position in the middle of the table. They sit in fourth place with a 4-4 record and 19 points in the table through eight matches. They’ve scored 22 tries and have conceded just 24. They’ve embodied the term ‘balance’.
Sunday’s match could be decided by penalties. The Raptors led the league in cards, totaling 18 yellow cards through 10 matches. Yacare XV on the other hand have only received six yellow cards in 2023. That is the lowest card total in the competition by a margin of four yellows.
Even with their Round 10 loss to Peñarol, the Raptors have built up some solid momentum over the course of the last two weeks. They scored three tries in Round 9 to pick up their first victory in the competition over Selknam and added six more in a 50-37 loss to the defending league champions.
The last two matches of Yacare XV’s season highlight the rollercoaster they’ve been on as the rounds pass. They secured a 34-30 victory in a four-try performance over Cobras Brasil in Round 9 before their bye week but wound up on the wrong end of a 43-17 decision against Peñarol before that.
Yacare XV’s Ignacio Inchasupe and Raptors’ fly-half Lucas Gonzalez rank sixth and seventh, respectively, on the Super Rugby Americas leaderboard for point scorers with a one point buffer inbetween the two players. Inchasupe has scored 47 points on three tries, six penalty goals, and seven conversions. All 46 points that Gonzalez has scored in 2023 have come off the tee. He’s made 10 penalties and eight conversions through nine matches.
American Raptors wing Daytwon Sheridan and Yacare lock Mariano Garcete Elli are parts of a six-way tie for the third most tries scored in Super Rugby Americas this season with four tries apiece. What makes that number extra impressive for Sheridan is the fact that he’s scored all of his tries in the last two matches. He scored the Raptors first try of the match in their 26-22 victory over Selknam in Round 9 – which happened to double as Sheridan’s 2023 debut – and then recorded a hat-trick in the Raptors Round 10 loss to Peñarol. Sheridan has earned Super Rugby Americas First XV honors for both weeks that he’s been active.
The Raptors are looking to even the season series against Yacare XV on Sunday at Infinity Park. The match will kickoff at 2 PM MT. Tickets can be purchased by visiting AmericanRaptors.com/Tickets. The match will also be broadcast live on ESPN+.