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Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 16 Racing 92 19

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Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill insists his side will get straight back to Aviva Premiership Rugby business after their European semi-final defeat to Racing 92 on Sunday.

The Tigers left themselves too much to do in a 19-16 defeat to the Top 14 side who were superbly marshalled by half-backs Dan Carter and Maxime Machenaud.

Telusa Veainu crossed late on for Cockerill’s side but their French opponents defended doggedly throughout to go through to their first-ever European Champions Cup final.

The Tigers must now return to domestic business knowing that a first European final since 2009 has escaped them again.

But victory next weekend over Worcester Warriors will confirm the Tigers in the top four and Cockerill is adamant his side have the required character to produce an immediate response.

“We don't do sulking, we've just got to crack on: we've lost and that's the game," said Cockerill.

"We've got six days until we play Worcester in the Premiership, and we've got to secure our place in the top four and victory over Worcester will do that.

"We can't change it, so we'll look forward to trying to secure the top four and a league semi-final.

"Our system was broken down in defence right at the start and we leaked seven points in a three-point ball game.

"I'm proud of the players – they took it to Racing. It is a game of small margins.

"I’m proud we pushed them to the death. Racing are a good side. We created opportunities we didn't take."

Machenaud’s early try combined with the boot of Carter and Johannes Goosen – who landed a monster penalty with six minutes to go to effectively seal victory – proved the difference.

And Racing will now take on Aviva Premiership Rugby table toppers Saracens in the final in Lyon in three weeks’ time.

Saracens beat them in last year’s quarter-final courtesy of a last-gasp Marcelo Bosch penalty and Machenaud admits his side are out for revenge.

“There is real euphoria,” he said. “It’s not every day that you get to win a big European semi-final like that. But we haven’t won anything yet.

“We want our revenge against Saracens, we know how difficult that will be. I still remember that defeat.

“It was a very physical match and they are very powerful up front – they have kept the same players so we know what to expect, there will be no surprises.”
 

Leicester Tigers: Mathew Tait, Telusa Veainu, Peter Betham, Manu Tuilagi, Vereniki Goneva, Freddie Burns, Ben Youngs; Marcos Ayerza, Harry Thacker, Dan Cole, Dom Barrow, Graham Kitchener, Mike Fitzgerald, Lachlan McCaffrey, Opeti Fonua.
Replacements: Greg Bateman, Logovi'i Mulipola, Fraser Balmain, Ed Slater, Tom Croft, Sam Harrison, Owen Williams, Adam Thompstone.
 
Racing 92: Brice Dulin, Joe Rokocoko, Johannes Goosen, Alexandre Dumoulin, Juan Imhoff, Dan Carter, Maxime Machenaud; Eddy Ben Arous, Virgile Lacombe, Ben Tameifuna, Luke Charteris, Francois van der Merwe, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Chris Masoe.
Replacements: Camille Chat, Khatchik Vartanov, Luc Ducalcon, Manuel Carizza, Antonie Claassen, Mike Phillips, Remi Tales, Louis Dupichot.
 
SCORERS:

Leicester
Try: Veainu 
Conversion: Williams 
Penalties: Burns, Williams 2 

Racing 92
Try: Machenaud
Conversion: Carter 
Penalties: Carter 3, Goosen

Referee: Nigel Owens 
Attendance: 22,148
 

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