New Zealand has to do something to help South Africa before the old enemy disappears off the face of the rugby world.
The situation in the Republic is desperate. Truly. The Boks were awful this year and most worrying was that they became progressively worse.
They learned nothing in defeat - failed to absorb and adapt and repeated the same mistakes test after test. It was depressing for their loyal followers, almost equally so for those who understand the importance of having a strong South Africa in the world game.
Maybe it was just a bad patch? A post World Cup rebuilding year that was tougher than expected? Didn't Australia suffer much the same fate?
That's an explanation of sorts but doesn't really hold up under scrutiny. The problems in South Africa seem to run much deeper and if there is one factor which signals that, it is the continued exodus.
There was a big, expected, clean out after the World Cup. Every Southern Hemisphere nation suffered post World Cup, but South Africa lost more good players than everyone else and the bleeding continues apace.
Marcell Coetzee, Willie le Roux and JP Pietersen have all gone and across their six Super Rugby teams, there's barely a well-known face. It's desperate and no one has any idea when or if it will ever change.
Predictably, after such a dire season, the talk is that Springboks coach Allister Coetzee will shortly be chopped and that the preference is for a Kiwi - Dave Rennie or John Mitchell - to take over.
New Zealand, if such a scenario plays out, would ostensibly be doing their bit to help, but in reality, the next man in to the Springboks job is going to face all the same almost insurmountable problems and find it just as hard to build a winning team as Coetzee has.
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.
Ireland are a nation on the rise - there time to host will come again. Ditto France. But South Africa desperately need some love from the global rugby fraternity.
The World Cup hasn't been in South Africa since 1995 and to many, it remains one of the best - certainly one of the more emotionally charged and inspiring. That was five tournaments ago - six by the time Japan have hosted in 2019 and to leave South Africa out in the cold for at least another four years would be a shocking way to treat one of the aristocrats of the game.
A vote for South Africa 2023 will do something - surely - to persuade the next generation of leading players to commit to staying in the Republic? It will surely give reason for the Boks to build with a cohesive plan knowing they will have the world on their doorstep in 2023 expecting the hosts to deliver on and off the field?
But above all else, surely when England (twice), France, New Zealand and Australia have all had a chance to host in the last 20 years, it is time for South Africa to be granted the same right.