Glasgow Warriors part company with Shade Munro

Gregor Townsend, right, with Shade Munro. Picture: SNS
Gregor Townsend, right, with Shade Munro. Picture: SNS
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GLASGOW have announced that assistant coach Shade Munro is to leave after 12 years on the Warriors’ coaching staff, with his departure expected to pave the way for a new appointment to Gregor Townsend’s managerial team.

However, it is believed that, if Munro would like to stay within Scottish Rugby and a suitable opportunity arises, then the former Scotland international could well still have an important role to play within the game.

While the decision to part company with Munro is understood to have been the toughest taken by Townsend in his three-year spell as Glasgow head coach, there is already speculation over who will be brought in as a replacement.

Connacht assistant coach Dan McFarland is understood to be in the frame, while current defence leader Matt Taylor, a former Scotland A back-rower, could broaden his coaching horizons within the Glasgow backroom framework. There is also the possibility of senior player Al Kellock moving into a coaching role.

Townsend said of his departing colleague: “He takes a lot of pride in how the contributions he’s made have helped the club grow both on and off the field. The club continues to evolve and it was a very tough decision to move on without Shade, but we wish him all the best when he leaves at the end of the season.

“I’d like to thank him for all his help over the past three years and it would be fantastic if we could achieve success in his last season with the club.”

Former Scotland front-row Peter Wright believes Munro’s departure may pave the way for the smooth transition of Warriors’ long-term skipper Al Kellock from on-field captain to a key member of the Scotstoun coaching team.

Munro has become an integral member of the Glasgow coaching staff, serving under three head coaches at the club in Hugh Campbell, Sean Lineen and now Townsend, but Wright admits that the parting of the ways may have come at the right time for both parties.

“The decision to allow Shadey to go is one of those that although it should not come as a surprise, such has been the length of time he has spent at Glasgow on the coaching staff, it is for that very reason just that,” said Wright.

“Clearly it was Gregor’s decision and it could well be that he just decided that there needed to be a freshness and an injection of new ideas and that the time was right for that to happen at the end of the season.

“I know how tough that call will have been for Gregor to make given the fact that he and Shade are very good friends but it may be, with Shade being a laid-back big guy, that Gregor just wanted someone that bit harder. But 12 years is a long time to spend on the coaching staff of any rugby club and I guess there comes a time when you need to freshen things up. Although I believe Shade, like Gary [Mercer] and Sean [Lineen] before him is a full-time employee of the SRU and as such could have another position found for him, he has a huge wealth of experience to offer and you never know how that will work out.”

While hooker Dougie Hall’s retiral at the end of the current campaign comes as no surprise, Wright admitted he is both baffled and concerned by tight-head Jon Welsh’s impending move to Newcastle Falcons, confirmed yesterday.

The former Scotland prop said: “In terms of Dougie Hall, well he has had a good crack at it and the bottom line is that his body was no longer up to the job but Jon Welsh is a strange one.

“You have a situation where you will have the young lad Zander Fagerson and the South African Rossouw de Klerk, Mike Cusack and the Fijian Jerry Yanuyanutawa in there but, for my money, if Welsh is fit he is the best of the lot and of course Scottish.

“So there is a bit of a changing of the guard going on at Glasgow right now and, in a Scottish context, I am not sure it is for the best.”