Author Lee Child has revealed the rugby-playing inspiration behind star character Jack Reacher.

Reacher is described as a 6’5″ 113kg former military policeman that drifts around with nothing more than a folding toothbrush, investigating suspicious and dangerous situations.

The Jack Reacher series has spawned 22 novels and two films.

The film adaptations received backlash after diminutive actor Tom Cruise – who stands at just 1.7m tall – was cast as the lead character. Child has revealed in an interview with New Zealand’s Radio Sport that Reacher’s appearance and physique in the novels were based on an 85-test England loose forward.

“I based Reacher on a physical type of person which is huge and ugly,” Child said. “There was an English rugby player called Lawrence Dallaglio.

“Think of him in his peak. He was a big guy.

“There is a very iconic picture of him – a photo of him – and he’s got the ball in one hand, he’s got these giant hands. He is exactly the sort of guy you would not mess with. Because he’s big and he’s also rather brutal-looking, not that I would ever say that to his face.”

Child was then asked if Dallaglio knew he was part of the inspiration behind the character.

“I think he does,” Child said. “At the time Martin Johnson was England captain – he was a Reacher fan and was kid of annoyed I wasn’t basing it on him!”

Dallaglio is listed at 6’4″ and 112kg, the almost exact measurables of his fictional counterpart. A back-row forward, Dallaglio appeared for England 85 times and spent his entire domestic career with Wasps, making 227 appearances between 1990 and 2008.


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