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Cockerill still proud of Tigers efforts

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Richard Cockerill says he has "nothing but praise" for the Leicester Tigers squad despite missing out on a place in the Aviva Premiership Final.Tigers reached the knockout stages for an 11th successive season with a strong run of form in the second half of the season but were beaten 47-10 at Bath in the semi-final on Saturday.   “There is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Tigers director of rugby Cockerill. “We’ve worked really hard, to get here was an achievement in itself and I have nothing but praise for the players and staff on and off the field.   “Bath deserved the win and deserve to be in the final but we made them work extremely hard to get there and the scoreboard probably doesn’t do us justice.   “They took their opportunities well. Once you cannot keep within a score and you’re trying to chase the game, you’re going to leave yourselves exposed.   “No excuses, we were beaten by the better team on the day, but I’m delighted with the quality of the attitude and guts and determination from our players. We gave it our best shot.”   After Bath had raced into the lead, a converted try from Tom Youngs just before half-time brought it back to 21-10 and Tigers enjoyed large periods of possession in the opposition, only to see the hosts make the most of their scoring opportunities in the second period.   “We came here to take them on and we controlled the game for large parts,” said Cockerill. “We just didn’t have enough firepower to get to the line.   “The penalty count was horrendous against them – every time we got close to their line they were penalised. It is frustrating but I have no qualms with the outcome. When a team like Bath get away you had no way of clawing that back.”   There was further bad news for Tigers with full-back Niall Morris leaving the field on a stretcher shortly after half-time with what Cockerill said was a suspected broken ankle.