There were no South African flags or hordes of fans to greet the Springboks who landed at OR Tambo Airport in Joburg on Monday.
The Boks have had their worst year since readmission, losing eight of their 12 Tests.
But coach Allister Coetzee insists he can make SA rugby a force again.
Coetzee and his embarrassed squad arrived home after a disastrous end-of-year-tour which saw them draw with the Barbarians and then lose all of their Test matches against England, Italy and Wales.
Upon his return,
Toetie said: “I can understand the supporters are disappointed… we are just as disappointed.
“I’ve been appointed to 2019 and I want to make sure that when I leave, I do so with a firm, concrete tangible blueprint in place for how the Springboks must be run.”
He believes it is a case of taking one step back to take two forward and adds: “Sometimes things have got to go as low as they can before they can go upwards again.
“This now is a massive opportunity for SA Rugby to not only plaster over the cracks, but to clean it up.
“We’ve got six months until we [the Bok squad] get back together again and we need to spend that time wisely, planning for how we’re going to get back to the top.”