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Howard praises players' efforts

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Tigers' departing head coach Pat Howard praised his players' efforts at the end of an action-packed season which saw the club claim the Guinness Premiership and EDF Energy Cup and just miss out on European glory on Sunday afternoon.

Howard saw his side lose 25-9 at the hands of London Wasps in their third Twickenham final of the year just a week after becoming English champions following a 44-16 victory over Gloucester Rugby.

The Australian was quick to admit that Tigers were second best on the day, but was equally keen to highlight the achievements of the players who brought silverware back to Welford Road for the first time in five years.

"I think the players can be immensely proud," said Howard. "We did it the hard way. We fell short today and we deserved to lose and we make no excuses for that. At the same stage, I'm immensely proud of what the team have achieved."

Modesty was also at the heart of Howard's response to media questions at the end of his two-year reign as club coach, as he passed on any accolades for the double-winning season to his players and accepted full responsibility for Sunday's defeat.

"I fully accept the blame for the loss. It's my fault, but I'm incredibly proud of what the players have done and what the squad as a whole have accomplished this season. Credit belongs to the man who's actually in the arena. These players have been wonderful and it's just disappointing for the players, and the supporters who have been absolutely magnificent, that we couldn't finish with a win."