Tiny margins cost Tigers – Cockerill

Date published: January 19 2014

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill was “bitterly disappointed” to see his side miss out on a home Heineken Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill was “bitterly disappointed” to see his side miss out on a home quarter-final after Saturday's Heineken Cup loss to Ulster.

The 22-19 defeat at Welford Road – Tigers' first European loss on home soil in eight seasons – means they are now set to travel to either Clermont or defending champions Toulon.

Leicester led by 10 points 10 minutes into the second period but Ulster responded when Ruan Pienaar charged down Toby Flood's poor clearance on the hour mark to score a try that levelled matters.

Pienaar's 69th-minute winning penalty was from a metre inside his own half, his second monster kick of the game, and left Cockerill to rue his team's mistakes.

“It was a good game of rugby. It was tiny margins and those margins went against us at times. It was that tight. We could have won it, but we didn't. It was one of those games where mistakes cost us,” said Cockerill.

“We're bitterly disappointed with not winning the game. Having been 10 points up, we should have made a better fist of that.

“Ulster are a good side. They play a certain way and they did it very well. They didn't create anything – they just kicked well and put you under pressure and, at times, we didn't manage that as well as we would have liked and that's cost us.

“We defended very well. They didn't create a try-scoring opportunity all night, it was a chargedown kick to score and they kicked the rest through penalties.

“We created a score that was well worked, but you can score points in lots of different ways and Ulster did that tonight, with Pienaar kicking very well.

“We got beaten – that's sport – and you have to say congratulations to them. It wasn't for lack effort. That's life and that's the game at times.

“At the moment it's probably Toulon [in the quarter-finals[, tomorrow it may be Clermont who have an average home record, what is it, 73 games unbeaten,” added Cockerill.

“We are in the quarter-finals and we have suffered a lot of adversity (through injuries), so that's not a bad effort from us.”