Raptors Defeat Cobras for First Win of Season

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A joyful American Raptors rugby team posing for a group photo on the field with their mascot after their first win of the 2024 season against Cobras Brasil XV.

It took four matches, but the American Raptors got the monkey off their back on Sunday afternoon, knocking off Cobras Brasil in their first match back at Infinity Park in 2024.

The Raptors (1-3) got their six-match homestand started on the right foot with a 29-21 victory over Cobras Brasil (1-4). The Raptors outscored Cobras 19-7 in the second half to lock up a bonus point victory in head coach Mose Timoteo’s debut. 

“Obviously, it’s important for our mindset and for the next five games that we have at home,” captain Diego Fortuny said following the win. “This is our fortress and we have to defend it.”

Cobras Brasil drew first blood on Sunday with a pick-and-go try from lock Franco Carrera to take an early 7-0 lead after captain Franco Carrera’s conversion in the sixth minute, but the Raptors answered back with a deep penalty goal from Ignacio Mieres.

Cobras added their second try of the match in the 22nd minute on a rolling maul that was finished off by hooker Henrique Ferreira that pushed their lead to 14-3. The Raptors’ first try came just a few minutes later on a rolling maul of their own that Fortuny dotted down and Mieres converted to cut Cobras’ lead to 14-10 at the half.

The Raptors picked up right where they left off in the second half with a Mo Vainikolo pick-and-go try in the 43rd minute to give the Raptors a 17-14 lead, which was their first of the match.

Cobras bounced back with their third try of the match to regain the lead just a few minutes later with a quick tap try from No. 8 Pedro Aparecido in the 60th minute. When it felt like momentum was slipping away from the Raptors, a yellow card by the Cobras’ Ben Donald opened the door for the Raptors to finish the game and they took advantage of the opportunity.

The Raptors strung together a pair of unanswered tries from Jacob Hidalgo and Feofaaki Pulu in the final 20 minutes of the match to pull ahead and secure their first victory of the season.

“We fought until the end,” Fortuny said. “We were more physical than them for most of the game, so I think that was the difference.”

The Raptors picked up five points table points in the bonus-point victory to jump ahead of Cobras in the table. They will now turn their attention to Yacare who will make the trek to Glendale next Sunday. Fortuny knows that there is plenty of work to be done ahead of their Round 6 clash with the league’s second-place team.

“At the beginning of the game, our lineout was so sloppy, so that is something that we have to fix” Fortuny said. “This week we prioritized the scrum, but I think we have to find the right balance between working our scrum and our lineouts. We need to keep the discipline. Two yellow cards are pretty expensive for us.”

The Round 6 match between the Raptors and Yacare will kick off at 3 PM MT at Infinity Park. Gates for the match will open at 2:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased here. Fans who can’t make it to Infinity Park can watch the match live on ESPN+.

American Raptors

Diego Fortuny, Mo Vainikolo, Jacob Hidalgo, Feofaaki Pulu

Ignacio Mieres (2/3), Devereaux Ferris (1/1)

Penalty Goals
Ignacio Mieres (1/1), Devereaux Ferris (0/1)

Cobras Brasil

Franco Carrera, Henrique Ferreira, Pedro Aparecido

Lucas Tranquez (3/3)

Penalty Goals

We're running back some of our favorite moments of the 2024 Super Rugby Americas season, and we want to hear from you!
Check out our Top 4 tries of the season, and let us know which one was your favorite by dropping a comment below 👇
We will share which clip received the most votes on Friday!
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Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Here are the 2024 End of Season awards as voted on by the members of the team!
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