The youngster has been cited for punching Northampton wing Chris Ashton.
The 19-year-old England Saxons cap, a contender for a place in Martin Johnson's World Cup squad, caught Saints star Ashton with a three-punch combination in the 32nd minute of Leicester's 11-3 top-flight semi-final success at Welford Road on Saturday.
Tuilagi should have been shown a red card for his actions but instead both players were sin-binned on the advice of assistant referee Robin Goodliffe.
However, independent citing officer Alan Mansell has decided that Tuilagi has a case to answer and he will now appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, on his 20th birthday, which will be chaired by Judge Jeff Blackett in London.
Any suspension, which could range from three to 11 weeks or more, would be certain to end the Premiership Young Player of the Year's hopes of appearing against Saracens in the Twickenham showpiece on May 28, and possibly of taking part in next month's Churchill Cup.
Cockerill said: "He reacted poorly to something that had happened, he has thrown a punch and you can't do that.
"The rules say that if you strike or punch a player then it is a red card offence, make of that what you will.
"I am sure there will be some form of sanction."
Cockerill refused to comment in detail on the incident in the wake of Saturday's game, but having reviewed the footage he accepts that his man was in the wrong.
He said: "I hadn't seen all the angles when I went to the press conference on Saturday so I didn't want to talk about it. But I have seen it since and I have never shied away from the responsibility of our players being disciplined.
"Manu can't react like he did, he knows that. He is a young man, he will pay the penalty and learn his lesson.
"Will it be a loss? Yes. Can he do what he did on Saturday? No."
Tuilagi has been one of the stars of the season, notably running in a wonderful solo score in Leicester's home defeat to Sarries earlier this season, but while Cockerill acknowledges it will be a blow to be without the powerful three-quarter, he believes he has plenty of quality back-up to call upon.
"If it takes him out of the final we have to deal with it," he said.
"Manu is a good player, a quality player, but so are Dan Hipkiss, Matty Smith and Billy Twelvetrees, so there are other things we can do and other players we can pick."
Cockerill also hit back at newspaper reports that he had used foul and abusive language towards RFU referee assessor Brian Campsall during the course of an uncompromising last-four clash.
It had been suggested that Cockerill, who received a warning from Judge Blackett last year over his behaviour during the play-off win over Bath, and head coach Matt O'Connor would face disciplinary action for the manner in which they voiced their criticism of the performance of international referee Wayne Barnes.
But Cockerill, seeking a hat-trick of league title as Tigers boss, revealed that he has spoken to Campsall and RFU referees' chief Ed Morrison and hit out at allegations that he had used foul and abusive language as "poor journalism".
He said: "I want to state categorically that I did not use foul and abusive language and I was not aggressive towards Brian.
"I have spoken to him and Ed Morrison, the head of the RFU referees' unit, and they had no issue with my behaviour during the game or my attitude towards Brian.
"I take great offence in how it was reported, there was no foul and abusive language.
"I was not aggressive towards anyone, it was portrayed poorly and it was poor journalism.
"I refute all those claims that were pointed out to me in the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday newspapers.
"As far as I am concerned I have no case to answer, the allegations are untrue and I find it a little bit wrong that those things can be written and made up in a national newspaper when it is very high profile and I get slagged off and look to be a foul-mouthed yob when that is not the case."
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