EX-GLASGOW assistant coach Shade Munro has admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the commitment of the new group of players he is in charge of.

When Munro left the Warriors after their PRO12 final win at the end of May for a new challenge as head coach of the Scotland women’s team, he had his doubts about the enthusiasm and skill levels of the players who make up the national team. But, after several months in the job, he is happy to say that he was wrong.

“I had a perception of the women’s game when I came into it, and it’s probably the perception of a lot of people,” Munro said yesterday. “I was in a bubble with the Glasgow Warriors, and my perception would be that they weren’t really that good, that they didn’t give it that much effort. That they were kind of playing at it.

“Since being involved, that’s actually not the case. The players themselves are very dedicated, very coachable, very keen - really willing to learn. I was really enthused by that, because that wasn’t my impression of what it was. I have to say I was wrong.”

Munro had been with Glasgow since 2003, playing his part in the team’s progress from also-rans in the PRO12 to play-off contenders to losing finalists and then last season to winners. He sees a similarity between that steady long-term improvement and his new job, in charge of a team that has not won a match in the Six Nations Championship since 2010.

“When my [Glasgow] contract ended I thought ‘What am I going to do here?’ This came along. It gives me the chance to be a head coach, which I’ve always wanted to do. I was quite keen to stay in Scotland, with my kids as young as they are. So that was the ideal fit, really.

“I did 12 years at Glasgow and I was delighted with the way it all turned out. I'm happy to be here now and it will be the same intensity of coaching, the same organisation. I'm in charge of what we do, so that's quite good.

“It was relatively amateur at Glasgow at the beginning, even although we were professional. The coaches as well - we had to learn. It's a different animal here, but the progression needs to happen and that's what I'd be hoping to achieve.

Munro has already recruited other ex-internationals such as Alan Tait and Chris Paterson to help with coaching sessions, and is working with Sheila Begbie, the head of women’s and girls’ rugby, on a number of initiatives to help drive up playing standards. One of those is a new competition, the Donna Kennedy Cup. Named after Scotland’s most-capped international, the match will feature a Glasgow and Caledonia select against another from Edinburgh and the Borders. The first staging of the annual event will be on Sunday 11 October at BT Murrayfield.

“We’re limited with the number of players we’ve got, and we need to raise the standard of competition they play in,” Munro added. “The East versus West game is part of getting to the next level, but it will come down to working with clubs as well.”