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Cockerill proud of players' efforts this season

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Richard Cockerill says he is "proud" of the Leicester Tigers squad despite seeing their Aviva Premiership season end at the semi-final stage on Friday.

Tigers, the defending champions, led at Northampton Saints until a late try from Tom Wood gave the hosts a 21-20 victory and passage to the final for a second year.
Cockerill, hoping to see Tigers make it all the way to Twickenham for a 10th successive season, said: “Obviously we’re bitterly disappointed. It could have gone either way and we’re just on the wrong side of it in the end.
“It hurts to lose, but that’s sport, sometimes you get beaten. We've been to nine finals, we wanted to make it 10. We will lick our wounds, regroup and come back next year.
“It’s been a tough year and I’m proud of the club. The whole squad did everything they could tonight, they left nothing out on the pitch. Saints go the Final, they've had a good year, good luck to them.”
Tigers picked up three yellow cards in a typically fast and furious local derby while Saints ended the game with 14 men following the dismissal of prop Salesi Ma’afu.
“The penalty count cost us dearly,” said Cockerill. “They came back very well and we put ourselves under pressure by not being disciplined enough.
“They were always going to throw everything at us and after the first yellow card the momentum shifted. We held out and defended very well but we kept giving ball away and giving  penalties away. Against a good side at some point in the game that will cost you.
“They win, we lose, sometimes you just accept defeat and unfortunately we have to do that tonight.”
Saints boss Jim Mallinder added: “There were good performances from both sides but I felt we probably just deserved it in the end. To go down to 14 and still score that try is a massive testament to the squad.”