In the heats two days ago the Netherlands recorded the fastest time. They came off the line in third, but the margins were close and Australia had a slight lead. The Australians, rating 36, continued to lead through the middle of the race. Surprisingly Great Britain was back in second. Usually the Olympic Champion British like to get out fast and lead early on and for the entire race. They have one replacement in their boat with Callum McBrierty filling in for a sick Constantine Louloudis.

Australia then managed to push to a two second lead and they were looking on fire. Then Great Britain started to really move. Australia was at 42 and Great Britain got to 45. The two crews were matching stroke-for-stroke in the final metres. Then two metres from the finish line disaster struck for Australia. Joshua Dunkley-Smith in two seat of the Australian boat caught a boat-stopping crab. Great Britain won. Australia was close enough to the line to have the momentum that held them in silver spot with the Netherlands taking bronze.

Results: GBR, AUS, NED, USA, RUS, GRE

B-final

The Germans made the best of this race and took off in the lead with Argentina on the pace at the start. Germany remained in front for the entire race with Canada moving up into second. Germany only just missed out on making the A-final yesterday when they were just over half a second out of qualifying. They rated 43 to finish first.

Results: GER, CAN, ARG, BLR

Mohamed Sbihi, Great Britain, gold
“It was a pretty difficult race because the Aussies were really strong. But there was really never a point during the race that we didn’t think we would catch them.”

William Lockwood (b), Australia, silver
“For the first competition of the season it was very good. We are racing with our reserve at stroke because Alex Hill was sick. He will be back in the boat tomorrow. We caught a crab because we were under pressure in the last 500m. We need to get it more together before Poznan.”

Peter Van Schie, the Netherlands, bronze
“We had a very good first 1000m, but then we missed some strength in our legs and the others could get away from us. I had no clue what happened at the finish, but this was a very good preparation for us.”