Richie Gray says he has no doubt that Scotland can bounce back from their World Cup opening weekend defeat to reigning champions South Africa when they take on Tonga in Nice next Sunday – but he has warned his team-mates that they are in for a tough afternoon against the Pacific Islanders if they don’t take on board the lessons learned from their Springboks defeat and from their final warm-up match a fortnight before that against Georgia.

"You need to earn the right to play,” said the veteran second-row, referencing the team’s recent over-reliance on Finn Russell’s flat passing game.

Without an attacking threat round the edges of the breakdown or an aggressive kicking game, their opponents have been able to line-up tackles across the park and snuff out running threats such as Huw Jones, Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham through their push defence.

“You can go out with the mentality of going wide-wide and trying to score tries but it's going to be physical against Tonga, and we'll have to be direct to earn the right to throw the ball around. It'll be a tough encounter and we're not going to get complacent because we've got to win the next three games,” Gray added.

Scotland will hope to have more control up front against Tonga than they did against the famously powerful Springboks, which should make it easier for the scrum-half to snipe around the edges himself or bring forwards onto the ball.

They must also make sure they have a tidier line-out next weekend, as this was identified by Gray as the biggest let-down of the South Africa performance.

"It was very disappointing because as good a Springbok side as they are, I don't feel there was massive pressure in the air – it was all our own doing, whether that was a few communication errors or a few technical things around the lift, jump or throw,” he said.

"On the flip side of that we did manage to dampen down their driving maul which is one of their major strengths but it's pretty disappointing. 

“There are lots of positives from the South Africa game but it is very frustrating because we were in a position to kick on and make a game of it and we didn't do that. We let it go in that 10 to 15 minute spell after half-time. But that's the game at this level, you have to be so accurate in every area of the pitch."

"The key now is to keep focused for Tonga," he reiterated. "They're a dangerous side, they've got a lot of new faces coming in and it will be physical. They'll want to come out and hit some bodies.

"It's a good test for us, and to get it right for 80 minutes is the biggest thing."