The American Raptors’ first loss of their Uruguay occurred in their final match of the two-and-a-half-week trip.
The tour started with a 31-5 win in a scrimmage over Los Cuervos to prepare for two matches against Uruguay A.
The Raptors picked up a convincing 68-27 victory over the Uruguay Rugby Union developmental side at the Carrasco Polo Club on November 14, using 10 team tries to run away with the match in the second half.
Uruguay A avenged their loss from five days earlier by handing the Raptors their only loss of the tour on Friday evening. The Teros used a big first half to beat the Raptors 32-29 in what will be the final match that the Raptors will play until 2022.
The early action of Friday night’s rematch made it seem like the Raptors were going to be in for another big night. American Raptor wing Daytwon Sheridan chased down a kick for a try to give the Raptors an early 5-0 lead, but it was all Teros for the better part of the remainder of the first half.
Uruguay A rattled of four tries, two conversions, and a penalty goal to score 27 unanswered points before the Raptors managed to stop the bleeding with a try from scrum-half Nolan Saraceni before halftime. The biggest difference between Friday night’s loss to Uruguay A and the match that the Raptors won the previous Sunday was possession. The Teros did a good job of hanging onto the ball, and when the Raptors managed to get their hands on it, they didn’t keep it for long.
Momentum switched around in the second half as the Raptors began to claw themselves out of a 27-12 hole, but they had a tough time cracking the Uruguay defense. The Raptors controlled possession during the second half but had to work hard for the first points out of the break. It wasn’t until after several minutes of attack deep in Uruguay territory that the Raptors finally got on the board with a Ricky Haley try in the 52nd minute.
Uruguay did what they could to slow down a Raptor comeback attempt with a try of their own to take a 32-19 lead with around 20 minutes to play.
The points finally did start going the Raptors way, but it was too little, too late as Casey McDermott-Vai and Dominic Akina logged back-t0-back tries in the final five minutes to bring the match to within three points.
A valiant comeback effort was ultimately halted by a knock-on as the Raptors strung together one last attacking sequence, and Uruguay A left Estadio Charrua with a 32-29 victory in hand.
Above all, it’s hard to consider the tour anything but a success for the Raptors as the club racked up two impressive wins and put together a strong showing in their lone loss.
Now, the Raptors will break for the holidays before regrouping for their spring campaign. When they report for the spring, the team will likely look much different as several Raptors have been linked to Major League Rugby teams for the 2022 season.
The Dallas Jackals have already announced that they’ve signed Campbell Johnstone and Sam Phillips. Johnstone was originally supposed to play for the Jackals in 2021 before they bowed out of the season while this will be the first time Phillips makes the jump to the MLR level. The former tight end at Louisiana College began playing rugby with the Colorado XOs in the spring.