The Kenya Simbas have brought in the Performance Rugby Analytics (PRA) co-founder Rynhardt Forbes, to assist the team in preparation for the Rugby World Cup.
kru.co.ke caught up with Mr. Forbes to get more acquainted with him and here’s how he describes his role.
KRU: How would you describe your role?
I’m a Team analyst and strategist. It’s my job to look at the opposition and identify trends in how they play. Based on my analysis, I come up with a plan considering the players we have in order to neutralize the threats of the opposition and exploit their weaknesses. I also look at the way we(Kenya Simbas) play and work with players individually with regards to special skills and individual position-specific Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Furthermore, I assist the coaches in team selections. I also served as the interim backline coach leading up to the game against Zambia.
KRU: How long have you been a rugby analyst?
I have been in rugby analysis and strategy for 10 plus years now. Six years ago, my partner and I developed a unique approach and have tested it numerous times. I’d definitely consider myself a scholar of the game.
KRU: Which other teams have you worked with in the past?
We have worked with various teams of all levels: from national, professional, provincial, club, and university, and high school teams around the world. Specific leagues include Varsity Cup, Vodacom Cup (South Africa), Gold Cup Rugby (South Africa), Division 1 rugby in Australia. I did most of my professional learning and training while working with the Lions Super Rugby team. We worked with the Danish National Team and now I’m with the Kenya Simbas.
KRU: How has been your experience with the Kenya Simbas so far?
Overall, a great experience. We worked with the Simbas remotely for 2 weeks prior to arriving in Kenya, 3 days before the game against Senegal. After the unfortunate loss, the team had a mindset change and we really worked hard the week before the game against Zambia. We went through highs and lows. I have to give credit to the technical team of the Simbas, quality people all across the board that all believe in the World cup goal. They made things happen. We have a technical team operating like the true professionals they are. As for Kenya, what a great country, passionate rugby people, and very welcoming. I love the country and the culture.
KRU: What are your thoughts on the team’s performance these past two weeks?
As mentioned, the first week was very rushed for us. We knew we had a very young Kenyan team and we did not have the opportunity to test out combinations. There simply was no time and we used what we had in mind to try and sharpen our skills. Heartbreaking to lose by 1 point at the death of the Senegal game, but we picked ourselves up and really put in the work the next week. We had various video sessions on Zambia, and we had a specific plan for Zambia. The combinations came together on the training pitch, hence the positional changes within the team. When we started the game the boys followed the plan to the T, and it worked like a charm. The turnaround in performance we were able to deliver in just one week speaks volumes of the quality of these players and the technical team #Keepthefaith.
“Rynhardt’s value with the Simbas in the short period he has been with us has been two-fold. One, he’s able to assist us in putting the technical preparations attached to an analysis and a trend. In the past, we haven’t been able to get patterns of how a team is playing. He’s also been able to look at our players and their attributes on whether they fit in certain positions. Secondly, he’s able to coach our backline and get them going on the starter moves and attack patterns. He’s also a fantastic human being and a passionate rugby person,” said Paul Odera.
Rynhardt is a co-founder of Performance Rugby Analytics (PRA), an organization based in Abilene, Texas, in the U.S., that helps coaches develop the best tactical and strategic game plan to maximize player performance, minimize injury, predict their opponent’s game plan, and ultimately win the game.
A key element of developing winning teams is knowing the players you have to work with, understanding who they are; knowing your tool. Then, knowing who your opponents are; understanding their tendencies. PRA uses a combination of predictive modeling combined with player knowledge and management, to assist coaches with player selection, game plan development, and strategy.