Raptors Preparing for Tough Task Against Pampas in Round 9

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American Raptors Rugby players in a scrum during a match, with intense focus visible on their faces.

The task doesn’t get any easier for the American Raptors this week.

Coming off a 63-14 loss to the top-seeded Dogos in Round 8, the Raptors (2-5) will welcome 6-1 Pampas to town for a Round 9 clash. Both Pampas and Dogos have 30 table points and are jockeying for Super Rugby Americas’ top spot. It’s a pair of brutal opponents to see back-to-back on the schedule, and it’ll be the second time the Raptors will have done it in 2024.

That’s just the way the chips fall.

The Raptors find themselves in sixth place with 10 table points. They are only two points out of the fourth and final playoff spot with five matches to play. With so much still to play for, finishing Sunday’s match with some points in hand will be vital to staying in contention for a playoff spot.

Sunday will serve as the second meeting between the Raptors and Pampas. Pampas handed the Raptors their second loss of the season in the form of a 52-17 scoreline in Argentina. The Raptors will aim to split the season series at Infinity Park on Sunday. 

Fans tuning into Sunday’s match won’t have to wonder too hard about what kind of team they will see when Pampas takes the field. On paper, they are a carbon copy of their Argentinean counterparts that Raptors fans saw a week earlier in Dogos. Pampas’ lone loss in 2024 came in the form of an 18-14 contest in Round 4. As mentioned, both teams have the same amount of table points through seven matches. Pampas has scored 253 points on the season to Dogos 252. Dogos has allowed 109 points in 2024, which is 29 points fewer than Pampas. Both teams have scored 35 tries. The similarities are evident.

Discipline was improved from the previous week in the Raptors’ Round 8 loss to Dogos, but they still played a man down for 10 minutes after a second-half Mo Vainikolo yellow card. Vainikolo’s yellow was the Raptors’ 14th card of the season, the second-most in the league being Yacare’s 15. Playing at full-strength for the entire match will be vital against Pampas – who only has eight yellows on the year – in Round 9. 

One negative category that Pampas leads the league in through seven matches is penalties committed with 89. The Raptors are in third place with 80, but that could open the door for the Raptors to find their way to some scoring opportunities in Round 9.

Sunday’s match will kickoff at Infinity Park at 3 PM MT, and the gates will open at 2:30. Tickets for the Round 9 clash can be purchased here. Fans who can’t make it to the match can watch it live on ESPN+.

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