By flying into New Zealand from South Africa, as they will on Tuesday morning, then winning a playoff match, they will have ended a 12-game losing streak for teams in such situations, that stretches back almost 20 years.Travelling teams have struggled in the playoffs full stop, winning just 23 per cent of matches, but when they have to fly across the Indian Ocean, and then across the Tasman, that figure falls to 13 per cent.Across the years, 18 teams have found themselves in those circumstances, with 16 losing and just two winning – in games where they were at home against opponents who had made the same trip.First, in 1996, there were the Blues, who beat the Sharks in Durban in the final round of the regular season, then returned home to beat Northern Transvaal in the semifinals.And then in 1998, there were the Crusaders, who beat the Sharks in Durban to end the round robin, then again in Christchurch in the semifinals.Since then, 12 teams have faced the arduous journey – eight from South Africa, two from Australia, and two from New Zealand – and none have triumphed.Going the other way, from New Zealand to South Africa, teams have won four times out of 11, a tally the Hurricanes will be trying to add to when they take on the Lions in Johannesburg in the early hours of Sunday morning (NZ time).Two of those wins came this year and last, when good Chiefs teams were forced to travel to play average Stormers teams, thanks to the convoluted conference format. The others came in 2011, when the Crusaders beat the Stormers, during their impressive run to the final in that earthquake-affected season; and in 1999, when the Highlanders beat the Stormers to set up the party at Tony Brown’s place, which they then lost to the Crusaders.The itinerary the Highlanders had then, from New Zealand to South Africa and back, is the hardest possible – at least until the Jaguares or the Sunwolves make the playoffs – and it’s one the Chiefs are familiar with, having done it last year, when they returned home victorious from Cape Town then lost meekly to the Hurricanes. Photo by: Getty Images (Liam Messam and the Chiefs are up against history as they try to stay alive in Super Rugby).
RIDGEFIELD — After what felt like weeks of continuous rain, Lenny Severs was excited to see the sun sneak out in recent days, because that meant she could get back to planting. “I don’t have a green thumb,” Severs of Camas said. “The things I plant don’t stay alive from year to year, but every year, I keep planting. I was cleaning out the yard recently and taking some leaves off flowers, and this one flower was absolutely dead and the whole thing just ripped right out of the dirt. It was disgusting.”Severs said the rain did make it easy to clear out her yard. She’s ready to start planting this year, and on Saturday, rolled around a wood-paneled wagon full of plants she purchased at the 26th annual Clark Public Utilities Home and Garden Idea Fair, held at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.Severs’ haul included a Japanese maple tree, trailing plants and tomato plants. Now all she needs is an opening to plant them.At this stage of spring, gardeners need to be optimistic, said Jacki Johnson, owner of Jacki’s Heirloom Garden in Ridgefield, one of 40-plus local vendors selling plants and flowers at the fair.“Eventually, it all dries up and we’ll get some sun again,” Johnson said.This was her 10th year as a vendor at the fair, and she brought along starter plants, perennials, heirlooms and tomatoes. The heavy rain has delayed her tomato planting, Johnson said, but a lot of her heirlooms stayed outside and survived the winter.“They will live on in spite of us,” she said. “They’re hardy little plants.”Johnson mostly sells her plants throughout the year at farmers markets and other events like the fair. Twice a year she hosts a plant sale on her property in Ridgefield. She said she likes the fair because it gives her a chance to walk around and see what the other vendors are offering.