HONG KONG — Canadian speedster Justin Douglas celebrated his 25th birthday with the 130th try of his career but it wasn't enough for Canada to beat Argentina in their opening match Friday at the Hong Kong Sevens.
Argentina, which stands eighth in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, took advantage of early errors from No. 12 Canada to prevail 19-14. No. 10 France, runner-up last month in Vancouver, thumped invitational side Portugal 40-7 in the other Pool B match.
Douglas, Canada's all-time try leader, had missed the two previous stops due to a concussion.
Argentina built a 12-0 lead with Nathan Hirayama sent to the sin bin for an intentional knock-on just before the break. Luciano Gonzalez's try early in the second half proved to be enough for the win with subsequent tries by Douglas and Connor Braid leaving Canada just short despite Argentina going a man down with back-to-back yellow cards.
The Canadian men open play Saturday against France before taking on Portugal.
In other action, England winger Dan Norton became the leading try-scorer in Hong Kong Sevens history, helping his team beat Wales 36-19.
Norton, who leads the circuit with 324 career tries, broke the record set by Collins Injera at the 2017 tournament.
England moved into second place in Pool D with the victory. The United States, which leads the overall standings, is first in the group after beating Spain 36-7.
In Pool A, South Africa beat Japan 22-7 and Samoa defeated Scotland 17-7,.
The Pool C match between New Zealand and Australia started with a minute's silence to commemorate victims in the Christchurch shootings.
New Zealand ended up winning the match 40-19. In the other pool match, it was a repeat of last year's final with Fiji beating Kenya 22-5.
In the women's qualifying tournament, Brazil beat Scotland 28-19 to win the title.
With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press