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Clermont Auvergne

  • Fofana,
    Penalty goals: Parra (5),
    Conversions: Parra,
22 - 16

Leicester

  • Crane,
    Penalty goals: Williams (3),
    Conversions: Williams,

Heineken Cup: Richard Cockerill left frustrated by defeat at Clermont

Last updated: 5th April 2014  

Heineken Cup: Richard Cockerill left frustrated by defeat at Clermont

Ricahrd Cockerill: Not happy despite a gallant defeat

Gallant losers is not my thing. Yes we can take the positives from how we played, but we came with the attitude to win and we didn't.

Richard Cockerill
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Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill refused to take any consolation from the gallant nature of his side's 22-16 defeat at Clermont Auvergne.

Tigers trailed 16-0 after 35 minutes at Stade Marcel-Michelin, where Clermont were unbeaten in their previous 74 games in all competitions.

Jordan Crane's try and the boot of Owen Williams then saw former champions Leicester recover to within a score of a remarkable win.

However, Thomas Waldrom's untimely yellow card proved costly as Clermont, last year's beaten finalists, held out for a 22-16 win to book their place in the semi-finals for the third season in a row.

Cockerill said: "Gallant losers is not my thing. Yes we can take the positives from how we played, but we came with the attitude to win and we didn't.

"Clermont are a very good side and you are always going to be up against it in France and especially here, where they played very well in the first half.

"Our plan was to try and keep the scores as close as possible in the first half and then go for it in the second half, but in the end they had just too much of a lead."

France centre Wesley Fofana crossed on 22 minutes as Clermont surged 16-0 ahead in front of a raucous home crowd.

But Leicester's recovery began three minutes before half-time when fly-half Williams found Jamie Gibson in space with a cross-field kick and Blaine Scully handed Crane an easy finish.

Williams converted and then added three successive second-half penalties, while Morgan Parra and Brock James fired wide from distance, to slash the deficit to just three points at 19-16 on the hour.

Tough situation

Cockerill added: "We played well in parts and we have to take credit for the way we came back. We could have been obliterated because all the momentum was against us, they were leading and the crowd were singing. It was a tough situation.

"But fair play to our players, they took themselves to places they have never been in the Premiership or even in Europe at Ulster and Montpellier. To come back against a team of Clermont's strength and come within a whisker of winning takes some doing.

"Were Clermont lucky to win? Probably not. Were we unlucky to lose? Perhaps, but that's rugby sometimes."

Clermont have never lifted the Heineken Cup but hope they can go one better than last year's agonising loss in the final to rivals Toulon in Dublin.

Head coach Vern Cotter said: "It's a major achievement to reach the semi-finals of such a great competition at this.

"The first-half performance was the best we have produced for a long time. But our experience from previous big games such as last year's final was also crucial in the second half. It helped us both in attack and defence to raise our level when we really needed."

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Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
13:00Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
15:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

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