RUGBY World Cup player and former Okehampton RFC member Julian White was thrust straight back into competitive action last weekend when he made his debut for new club Leicester Tigers.

All seven of Leicester?s world cup winners took to the field against league rivals Bath ? but Martin Johnson failed to inspire the Tigers to victory and they lost by just one point, the final score being 12-13.

Prop Julian played two group games during the World Cup, against Samoa and Uruguay. But despite not featuring in the latter stages of the competition, he was still delighted to have been part of the memorable occasion.

He said: ?Although I would have liked to have played a bigger part, I?m still very happy with everything. I could have quite easily been at home watching it on TV, rather than being out there. To be part of the squad was just something special.?

Julian, an 18-stone tighthead who has now gained 19 caps for England, said although it was frustrating not playing more games, ?the atmosphere at the games and when we got home was just fantastic?.

He added: ?It is great for English rugby and the memories of it all will stay with me. I can say I am a World Cup winner ? and that?s a great feeling.?

Jerry Ovens, vice-chairman at Okehampton Rugby Club, played with Julian when he was with the club in the mid-1990s.

?I think it was obvious even then he had a natural ability and strength and took it very seriously.

?It just goes to show that if you are committed and work hard, you can get to the top,? said Jerry.

He added that it was great that the club could boast a world cup player among its former members.

He said he hoped England?s success ? and Julian?s links with Okehampton ? would boost the popularity of the game and the strength of the club.

?At the end of the day, it?s bound to be good for rugby,? he said.

Julian is due to join the rest of the England team when they take part in the victory parade in London on Monday.