A South African great is calling for Super Rugby franchises in Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein to be axed in a bid to revive the ailing Springboks.

South Africa has endured a dramatic slide since losing to Japan at last year's World Cup, having won just four of 11 tests this year, including a defeat to Italy for the first time ever last weekend. That result pushed the once proud Boks down to No. 5 on World Rugby's international rankings.

"In our worst nightmare, we could never have imagined it being this bad," said World Cup-winning first five Joel Stransky who lays the blame squarely at the feet of "amateur era administrators" and says South Africa can't sustain more than four Super Rugby franchises.

He told Radio Sport's breakfast show that there isn't crowd support and financial support in Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein to sustain teams and South African rugby must starting making decisions that benefit the Springboks and not individuals running the game.

Many critics have blamed the Boks' decline on the weak rand and exodus of top talent overseas, along with a strictly-enforced racial quota system.

But Stransky, who kicked the winning drop goal over the All Blacks in extra time in the 1995 World Cup final, says an antiquated infrastructure and poor administrators are more to blame and they need to understand they can't compete at international level while operating six Super Rugby franchises.

"They need to get their blindfolds off," he said.

The now television commentator said South Africa should restrict themselves to four Super Rugby franchises who could then offer the money to stop the player drain to European and Japanese rugby.

"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," he said.

"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'."