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Tigers frustrated by missed chance

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Richard Cockerill described defeat at Harlequins on Saturday as "a missed opportunity" in the race for places at the top of the table.Tigers led 9-3 after 20 minutes at The Twickenham Stoop and enjoyed some good possession and field position until Quins grabbed two scores before half-time to take a 15-9 advantage.   A try early in the second half increased the gap to 13 points and a last-minute score gave Quins the bonus point in a 32-12 victory.   After defeats for Northampton, Saracens, Wasps and Exeter in the top six, Tigers could have made a significant move in the Aviva Premiership table with victory in London.   “With results this weekend, this was an opportunity to cement ourselves in the top four or five places,” said director of rugby Cockerill. “But we didn’t take it and that is an opportunity missed.   “It was a position to cement ourselves in that top group and we haven’t managed to do it.   “But we live to fight another day. It is very tight in there with probably the top eight or nine clubs still in the mix for the top four.   “The frustrating thing is we did some good things and started the game really well. But it is all about taking your opportunities. They took their opportunities and that gave them belief and we did not take ours.”   Northampton (48) and Bath (47) lead the table, but just five points separate the next six sides, led by Saracens on 39, ahead of Wasps, Exeter, Leicester, Harlequins and Sale.   Cockerill added: “If you are a little bit off in this competition you get punished.   “The scoreline suggests it was very one-sided but that does not reflect the game fully. In the first 20 or 25 minutes we ran some great lines and created opportunities. If you do not finish them, and recycle and respect the ball, then at some point it catches up and it costs you.”   Positives for Tigers came in the form of the return from injury of prop Logovi’i Mulipola who came off the bench for the last 25 minutes in his first appearance since the Round 3 defeat at Bath in September. Tom Croft also returned from a recent rib injury and got an hour’s gametime under his belt.   Attention now turns to the Pool 3 fixture against the Scarlets in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Welford Road on Friday. Kick-off is at 7.45pm and tickets are available now. Contact the Tigers ticket office by phoning 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or call in at Welford Road. Or click here to book online.   This match is included in season tickets. There is also an opportunity to upgrade any junior season ticket for seniors free if you think an evening kick-off is too late for young supporters. Click here for more details.