Glasgow's professional rugby team yesterday sacked Kiwi Searancke, their head coach, after a season of turmoil and began work on an overhaul of their back-room team.

Simmering tension in the camp came to the boil over the past week after Jason White, one of the team's senior figures, told The Herald he may be bound for England when his contract ends. The club captain, Andy Nicol, then launched a scathing attack on the way some players had found out through the press that they were to be released.

The disharmony had begun to build at the turn of the year, though, when it was revealed that Steve Anderson, the backs coach, was set to leave and take up a post at Murrayfield.

Since losing in the Celtic League to Ulster at Hughenden in November, the team had lost all but one of eight matches in heading out of Europe and slumping to the bottom of the Bank of Scotland Pro Cup table. The SRU finally confirmed yesterday that Anderson is to work under Scotland coach Ian McGeechan, while stating that Glasgow and their head coach had ''agreed to part company in order that Kiwi Searancke can pursue his career elsewhere''.

''The coaching structure at Glasgow is currently under review as assistant coach Steve Anderson is now seconded to elite performance analysis for the SRU,'' said a spokesman. ''Mr Searancke's departure and the position of Glasgow's second assistant coach Gordon Macpherson will now form part of that urgent review.''

When contacted by The Herald last night Searancke, who still had more than a year left on his contract, was unwilling to discuss details of his dismissal, explaining: ''I am in delicate negotiations with the SRU about what happens next.''

Having been on the coaching staff for the last five years, Macpherson is also expected to go, while fitness and conditioning coach Gordon Crawford has been one of the victims of the SRU's cost-cutting purge.

In a bizarre twist, Richie Dixon, the head coach whose departure a year ago to a Murrayfield desk job caused disquiet at Glasgow, will now take charge of the team on a caretaker basis in their remaining Pro Cup matches as they try to claim a place in next season's Heineken European Cup.

The appointments of Searancke and Anderson were the result of a global search but it is likely that their replacements will be home-based.

Speculation has been rife that Sean Lineen, the former Scotland centre and current backs coach at BT Premiership leaders Boroughmuir, is set to step up to the pro game and he is understood to be a target.

''Nothing has been agreed yet and I await the outcome of this with interest,'' was all Lineen would say on the subject last night. David Jordan, Glasgow's chief executive, said that, because the posts involve fixed-term contracts, they would have to advertise internally within the SRU before making any announcements.

He admitted, though, that ''the preferred option'' would be home-based candidates in order to avoid a repeat of last year's problems when New Zealander Searancke and Australian Anderson arrived with the squad already in place and with pre-season training well underway.

At his first press conference, Searancke launched an attack on the condition of the players he had inherited, setting the tone for his time in charge.

How Kiwi failed to fly, Page 30