Scotland captain Stuart McInally says Scotland will not fall into the trap of chasing bonus points against Samoa before they have victory in the bag.

Japan’s shock win over Ireland on Saturday opened up a raft of possible outcomes in Pool A of this World Cup, with both those two teams plus Scotland and Samoa all in the hunt for one of the top two spots in the table.

Ultimately for Scotland, it boils down to securing bonus-point wins in all three remaining pool matches – against Samoa today [kick-off 11.15am BST], Russia on 9th October and Japan on 13th October – in order to keep their destiny on their own hands.

Any slip-ups will not necessarily kill Scotland’s quarter-final dreams stone dead but will leave Gregor Townsend’s team relying on results out-with their own control going their way.

“We obviously watched the Japan game and we've done the numbers,” said McInally, at yesterday’s pre-match press conference at Kobe Misaki Stadium. “We know the implications and what it could mean for us, but we just have to go out and win the game first and foremost.

“In my experience, if you start chasing anything else before the game starts then you can get into a bit of trouble. So, we'll go out, try to win the game and if we're in a position in the last 20 minutes to go for that bonus point then of course we're aware of what we have to do.

“I feel we have to focus on beating Samoa because that’s a big challenge. They are a really good side who put a lot of points on Russia and didn’t concede a try. So, we’re very aware of the threat they have.

“Nothing changes for us," he added "The task is still the same. It may be a little harder in terms of needing bonus points now, but, ultimately, we're just going to need to win all of our games to get out of the pool. That wouldn't have changed whether we'd beaten Ireland or not, we still need to win all our games because you don't know what else is going to happen. Nothing changes for us as a group.”

Scotland will start the Samoa games as favourites, having won nine and drawn one of the 11 matches they have played against the Pacific Islanders since the two teams first met in the 1991 World Cup quarter-final.

However, the last six matches between the two teams have been very tight, with Scotland coming out on top five times but never by more than seven points. They also lost by ten points to Samoa in the summer of 2015.

Like their Pacific Island cousins, Samoa operate at a structural disadvantage because the economics of international rugby means that most of their best players are based overseas and are only pulled together as a team once or twice a year.

But they have had a full summer together to prepare for this tournament, and while their performance against Russia on Tuesday was scratchy and ill-disciplined at times, they also demonstrated flashes of their powerful running and slick offloading game which makes them such a dangerous proposition if given half a chance.

“We’ll be looking to start well and be physical against a team like Samoa who have that threat, make sure we’re able to match that,” he added. “But they will be dangerous for more than five minutes and we know with the quality players they have up front and in their backline that they can cause us problems for the whole 80 minutes if we’re not switched on.”

McInally concluded by promising that Scotland fans will see a much-improved performance from the team following last Sunday’s disappointing start to the World Cup campaign against Ireland, when they slumped to a heavy defeat and barely fired a shot in anger.

“I’m not sure why we turn in performances that are below par sometimes. It’s not something we enjoy doing but one thing I like about the squad is we tend to get a reaction,” he said. “We demand it of ourselves after a poor performance because we know what we’re capable of.

“When we fall below that standard it really hurts us, like it did last week – so we spoke about having a reaction this week in training and obviously tomorrow.”