GLASGOW WARRIORS coach Shade Munro has been demoted by Scottish Rugby just hours after the side made history by clinching the Guinness PRO12 title.


Munro learned two months ago that he was being replaced at the end of the season after almost a decade in the position and Murrayfield officials have offered the 48-year-old the post of heading up the national women's squad.

The move has been met with criticism and sympathy for Munro, whose last act with the Warriors was to help inspire them to glory at the weekend by winning the PRO12 final against Munster in Belfast. It was the first success in a major competition by a Scottish club team since the sport turned professional two decades ago.

Former Glasgow and Scotland World Cup flanker Cammy Mather hit out: "This is a massive slap in the face for Shade.

"He has been - and still is - a great coach, as Saturday's amazing triumph underlined.

"He has had a fantastic rapport with the Warriors players and that respect and admiration is mutual.

"Shade had real credibility because he had been at the coalface himself as an international player before injury cut short his Scotland career.

"He'd also been involved in the game at the highest level as an amateur and as a professional, so he appreciated the importance of both environments and the core values of the game that the amateur area gave us.

"If you lose people like Shade from the sharp end of the game then rugby starts to lose its soul and it suddenly becomes a job rather than a way of life."

Mather, now re-settled with his family in his native New Zealand, added: "To put him in charge of the women's team would be an enormous demotion.

"Probably the only worse scenario would be to give him the women's sevens team, in terms of the SRU's scale of importance!"

Mather admitted news of Munro's controversial switch had diluted his joy over Glasgow's historic triumph.

He said: "The whole family got up early to watch the match online.

"The result and performance made us all very proud on the other side of the world.

"Head coach Gregor Townsend will attract the vast bulk of the kudos, but no one should underestimate the work done by his predecessor Sean Lineen - and, of course, Shade.

"They were the ones who started the Warriors on their amazing journey."

Mather was backed up by another ex-Glasgow pack member, prop Muff Scobbie, who said: "Shade is obviously a very good coach - his results prove that.

"Yet the SRU seem intent on bringing in one overseas coach after another.

"I would be surprised if several pro clubs from outside Scotland are not interested in him, but it would be our loss.

"To offer him a job coaching women is such a waste of talent."

When the announcment was made earlier this week Munro said he welcomed the new role and added: "The aspect I'm personally looking forward to is being in a position to head up the operation - to be a head coach of a national squad is something I've wanted to do for a while. This gives me the opportunity to do so and see how I can bring the skills I have into a different playing environment.

"I'll be able to take stock of the women's game and look at all aspects - from the club coaches to the strength and conditioners to the team itself - and working in conjunction with Sheila [Begbie, the SRU's head of women's and girls' rugby], to bring a different edge to the national team programme. I'll be coming in with a blank sheet and no preconceived ideas, so it's a fresh start for the players as well as me."

Begbie took up her post just over a year ago after moving from the Scottish Football Association. She said: "He will support us to take the women's game to the next level in Scotland as he has a wealth of knowledge and experience working within a high performance environment.

"Shade has had an outstanding career to date, most recently being part of the Glasgow Warriors success in the Guinness PRO12. I'm sure everyone involved in women's rugby in Scotland will be excited by Shade's appointment and will see him as a very welcome addition to the women's game."