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We have to come back stronger says Cockerill

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Richard Cockerill says Leicester Tigers will aim to come back stronger as a result of the experience of semi-final defeat in league and cup this season.

After losing narrowly to Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup, the Tigers season ended with a 44-17 defeat by Saracens in the Aviva Premiership semi-final at Allianz Park on Saturday.
The damage was done in the first half as Sarries scored 31 unanswered points before scores by Telusa Veainu and Dom Barrow provided some hope for the visitors after the break.
“The first half killed us,” said Cockerill, the Tigers director of rugby. “We coughed up some cheap points and we only had ourselves to blame.
“At half-time we spoke about making sure we got back to our systems and playing how we wanted to play and put a bit of pride back in the performance. We got back to 31-17 and if you score next you’re in a one-score game. But you cannot give good sides cheap points or that kind of lead. They are a hard team to chase down
“The better team won but we have come a long way in how we are trying to play. We have a good squad and we will build on this year.
“We will stick to what we do and evolve. We got to two semi-finals in two competitions and have to build on that and be stronger and better next year.
“We have to learn lessons from our semi-final defeats. It’s a good group of players and staff, and we have to keep working hard. You have to come through some difficult times to be successful.”
Manu Tuilagi went off after just 20 minutes, with a hamstring injury which will be assessed before a decision is made on his place in England’s squad for the Tests against Wales and Australia, while Leonardo Ghiraldini suffered a rib injury in his final game for the club before joining Toulouse next season.
Saturday was also a final appearance for the club from Vereniki Goneva (after 41 tries in 89 appearances) and Tommy Bell ahead of moves to Newcastle Falcons and London irish respectively.