Monaco - Former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick says the Springboks should consider looking to the Blitzboks in an attempt to recover from a horror year in 2016.
The Boks won just four of their 12 Tests last year under new coach Allister Coetzee, with losses to Italy and Argentina sticking out as low points.
Fitzpatrick, speaking in Monaco ahead of the 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards, told Sport24 that the Boks would have to go back to the drawing board this season.
"They've got to realise that they've probably made mistakes ... maybe the training techniques they're using, the coaches, the players," Fitzpatrick said.
"But I look at the Sevens team and the Blitzboks ... maybe look at them?
"We need South African rugby to be strong. They're our biggest foe. They shouldn't be No 6 in the world, that's for sure."
Fitzpatrick also paid tribute to former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen, who passed away last Monday after a long battle with motor neuron disease.
"You look back to the 1995 (Rugby World Cup) final and the whole competition, really," said Fitzpatrick.
"He was a player that we looked at in terms of how he dominated that ruck area. He was very courageous and it's just a sad loss for world rugby.
"He'll go down in history as one of the greats."