Raptors Searching for First Win Against Peñarol in Round 3

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Raptors at Pampas Round 2

The American Raptors head into their Round 3 match against Peñarol searching for their first victory of the 2024 season. 

Friday’s match will mark the end of a brutal three-game road trip to start the season, as the Raptors will have to try to secure that elusive first win against the back-to-back league champions in Peñarol. After Friday, the Raptors will have played against three of the top four teams in 2023, including the runners-up and the Super Rugby Americas champions.

The Round 3 match could also be an example of rest vs. rust, as the Raptors will be playing in their third match in as many weeks while Peñarol will be coming off a Round 2 bye. 

Both Peñarol and the Raptors will be hungry for a victory when Friday rolls around. The Raptors are looking to shake off back-to-back losses to both Argentinian sides Dogos XV and Pampas in the first two rounds of the competition, while Peñarol surely has a bad taste in their mouth after narrowly dropping their season opener to Cobras Brasil – last year’s last-place finishers – 15-13.

An area that proved to be a problem for the Raptors again in Round 2 was turnovers. Through two weeks, the Raptors have turned the ball over 19 times. In the one match that Peñarol has played in 2024, they turned the ball over just two times. That statistic alone could be the difference in Friday’s match.

Another area that has bitten the Raptors has been tackling. The Raptors find themselves in last place in made tackle percentage at 70 percent, having missed 58 tackles through the first two weeks of the season. One player who has been lights out in that category for the Raptors has been tighthead prop Facundo Pomponio, who has made all 10 of the tackles he’s attempted in 2024. He sits in third place on the league leaderboard through two weeks.

The Raptors pushed Peñarol in the two matches they played in 2023. The Raptors dropped their Round 2 match against Peñarol 28-19 in Montevideo, Uruguay, and then fell 50-37 at Infinity Park in a match that the Raptors led 25-22 at the half. 

Quick starts in both of those matches helped the Raptors apply pressure to a Peñarol team that has been the top dogs in the previous two seasons, and it’s something that the Raptors haven’t yet produced in 2024. Getting some points on the board first could make all of the difference for a Raptors side ready to rid themselves of a losing streak.

The Raptors will take on Peñarol at Estadio Charrua in Montevideo, Uruguay on Friday, March 1 at 4 PM MST. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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