South Africa should only have four rather than six representatives in Super Rugby, according to World Cup winner Joel Stransky.
Last season's competition in the southern hemisphere saw the Kings and Cheetahs struggle in the South African group, with the two franchises both finishing behind Argentine debutants Jaguares.
And although the Lions reached the final they were the only side to progress beyond the last eight and were easily beaten by Hurricanes in the showpiece event.
The disappointing display in club rugby has been mirrored on the international stage with the Springboks losing seven of their 11 Tests in 2016, something Stransky believes is also affected by South Africa's Super Rugby showing.
"In our worst nightmare, we could never have imagined it being this bad," Stransky told Radio Sport in New Zealand.
"They [the South African Rugby Union] need to get their blindfolds off.
"A lot of blame is placed on transformation and the rand making a lot of our players go overseas but there are other things happening. I do think we can put the cork back in the bottle. We need to have a good look at our infrastructure.
"We need to understand that we can't compete with six Super Rugby franchises. We would probably be at our best with four.
"And let's say to the players overseas, 'we will pay you more, come home'."