Rugby Teams Birthday Quiz Puzzle

With the Six Nations Rugby Championship starting tomorrow, we have a puzzle about birthdays. And what, we hear you shout, have birthdays got to do with rugby? Well, it’s a little tenuous, but bear with us – it concerns the probability of members of a group sharing a birthday, and rugby union teams and squads give a very good illustration of this.

First of all think about how many people there need to be in a group for the probability of at least two people sharing a birthday to be greater than 50%. Or put another way how big does the group have to be before you will wager your hard-earned cash on two or more people sharing a birthday.

Working our way through the team and squad sizes . . .

Do you place a bet on a single rugby union team of 15 people?

What about the match-day squad of the 15 players and eight substitutes – 23 in all?

Maybe you are tempted by the combined starting fifteens of 30 players?

Or perhaps the combined match-day squads of 46 players.

Last offer – the two squads and the four match officials (referee, two assistant referees and the imaginatively named fourth official, a total of 50 individuals.

Still not placed a bet? Then, as we asked before, how many people would you need before opening your wallet?

As usual you can post your thoughts and answers as a comment on this website, reply to the post on Facebook, or retweet or reply on Twitter @quizmastershop.

We’ll give the answer and explanation on Monday morning at 9.00 as usual.


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