Though bitterly disappointed that a second-half fightback could not be capped with a remarkable victory, Cockerill had nothing but praise for the Tigers team.
Coming from 16-0 down in the first half, Tigers cut the gap to just three points entering the last quarter of the game. Clermont then nudged back into a 22-16 lead, but Tigers ended the game going forward, taking play right up to the five-metre line before the hosts were able to clear and celebrate their progress to the last four in the competition.
“We’re disappointed with the result, but at half-time we were 19-7 down and to get ourselves back in a position to potentially win the game was a positive from the game,” said director of rugby Cockerill.
“The guts and pride the players showed was second to none. Both teams had a crack and they were just a little bit better than us in the end.
“The defence on our line late on with 14 men was as good as any I’ve seen and then we were the team going forward at the end, still potentially chasing the win.
"Clermont are a very good side and they played very, very well.”