Gloucester fire warning to Sale
Gloucester say they will launch legal action if an approach from Sale was behind Bryan Redpath's exit.
The former Scotland and Sale scrum-half cited Gloucester's disappointing season for his decision to walk away after three years in charge at Kingsholm.
Redpath's departure comes four days before Gloucester meet Sale in a crunch Aviva Premiership game, with both sides competing for the final Heineken Cup qualification place.
Gloucester director Ryan Walkinshaw stressed Redpath's decision to leave was not connected to reports linking him with the vacant head coach's role at Sale.
But Walkinshaw then took to Twitter and said: "BUT if we find ANY evidence to increase our suspicions that Sale have manufactured this we'll fight back with a no holds barred legal attack".
Redpath took charge of Gloucester in 2009, guiding them to a seventh place finish in his first campaign, having previously served under Dean Ryan as backs coach.
Last season, Gloucester won the LV= Cup and qualified for the Premiership semi-finals where they were beaten by eventual champions Saracens by two points.
But Gloucester are scrapping for a top six finish after losing their last four matches and forwards coach Carl Hogg will take charge for the final two games of the season.
"I've offered my resignation with a heavy heart," Redpath said.
"It's a results-driven business we're in and I hold my hand up and take full responsibility for the fact that we've not performed as we should have.
"I have dearly loved my time at Gloucester. It's a fantastic club in a true rugby city with devoted, passionate supporters. But I think it's now someone else's turn to take charge.
"There are a lot of people to thank. However, I must express my gratitude to the Walkinshaw family, Ryan and his father Tom before him, for giving me such a marvellous opportunity here.
"I genuinely think that the future for Gloucester Rugby is bright and I sincerely wish everyone connected with the club the very best for the future."
Walkinshaw will turn his attention to recruiting the coach who will bring guy to bring "future glory" in the Premiership and the Heineken Cup to Kingsholm.
Gloucester have signed New Zealand scrum-half Jimmy Cowan, England number eight Ben Morgan and future international Billy Twelvetrees for next season.
Walkinshaw added on Twitter: "Hardest 3 days so far in the job. Thanks to Brush (Redpath) for all he did. Now time to find the guy to bring our awesome squad to future glory.
"The players and the fans deserve a top level coach who will utilise the exciting squad we have to their maximum potential.
"As a club we will not stop until we find the right guy for the job, and who we believe will support the team to win Premierships and HC's (Heineken Cups)".
Sale have been on the lookout for a new head coach since last month, when Tony Hanks left the club immediately after a 45-9 home defeat to Saracens.
The Sharks have signed Danny Cipriani and Richie Gray for next season.