Cape Town - A Kiwi scribe feels New Zealand Rugby can help the ailing Springboks by backing South Africa’s bid to host the 2023 World Cup.
The Springboks have endured a torrid 2016, losing eight of 12 Tests under Allister Coetzee as coach.
It has included a first ever home loss to Ireland, a first away reverse to Argentina, a record 57-15 home defeat to New Zealand, before ending the year-end European tour with losses to England, Italy and Wales.
The Kiwis are clearly worried about the demise of their once great rival and rugby writer Gregor Paul has expressed his concern via a column for the New Zealand Herald.
“New Zealand has to do something to help South Africa before the old enemy disappears off the face of the rugby world,” he wrote.
“The situation in the Republic is desperate. Truly. The Boks were awful this year and most worrying was that they became progressively worse.
“The real way for New Zealand to help South Africa is to support the latter's 2023 World Cup. The vote for the hosting rights is in November next year and the choice is between Ireland, South Africa and France.
“As always, each has obvious merits: compelling reasons to win votes. South Africa's case, though, is the strongest for the overwhelming reason that if they don't put some kind of definitive marker down to give the game a long term objective and unifying mission, then a heavyweight is rapidly going to be recast as a middleweight."
SA Rugby recently submitted documents to World Rugby confirming its intentions to bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
There was however some doubt over whether SA Rugby would receive government's backing for hosting the event.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula earlier this year banned the federations in control of rugby, cricket, athletics and netball in South Africa from "bidding for or hosting any major sporting events".
It followed the release of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report that revealed that all four of those federations had failed in meeting their transformation targets.
But with the RWC 2023 bid process having already started, there is believed to be an agreement between SA Rugby and government.
The host of the tournament in 2023 will be announced in November 2017.