Cape Town - Springbok centre Juan de Jongh says his loyalties still lie with Western Province, but warned that they can expect a tough Currie Cup final against the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday.
READ: Currie Cup referees through the ages
The 30-year-old played for Western Province between 2009 and 2017 before joining English outfit Wasps.
De Jongh, who played 19 Tests for the Boks between 2010 and 2016, was interviewed on SuperSport’s Afrikaans programme SuperRugby on Monday night where he shared his thoughts on Saturday’s final.
“A final is a once-off game. Whatever happened in the season actually means nothing. WP had a brilliant season, but it will be a very tough final, especially against the Sharks," De Jongh said.
De Jongh will fondly be remembered by WP fans when he scored a spectacular try off a scrum in the 2012 final against the Sharks in Durban, helping his team to a 25-18 victory and their first Currie Cup title in 11 years.
He also captained WP to the 2014 Currie Cup title when they beat the Golden Lions 19-16 in the final at Newlands.
But De Jongh has also suffered heartbreak in Currie Cup finals.
He played in two final losses to the Sharks - the 30-10 defeat in Durban in 2010 and the 33-19 loss in Cape Town in 2013 - and was also WP’s captain when they lost 32-24 to the Golden Lions in the 2015 final in Johannesburg.
“I can remember in 2013 when the Sharks came to Newlands and gave us a hard time. At the end of the day it’s about the 80 minutes and the focus. Obviously, Western Province are the favourites but they must make the best of the situation and hopefully we (WP) can have the cup on Saturday.
When asked whether he had any advice for his former team-mates, De Jongh added: “There will be a lot of pressure but the guys just need to focus on themselves and focus on the process, not when the final whistle blows. It will be a tough match and I’m looking forward to it."
Kick-off is at 16:00.
READ: A history of WP v Sharks Currie Cup finals