Australia and Italy got directly through to this final from the heats with very close times. They sat in the middle lanes with the boats that made it through from the repechages sitting in the outer lanes. Italy had the status of being the reigning under-23 World Champions. Australia was the first to show with coxswain Louis Copolov doing the calls. Great Britain and France were just behind and going neck-and-neck. Then Australia really pushed away. Where was Italy? The current pace meant if it could be sustained a new under-23 World Best Time would be set. A virtual line formed behind Australia with less than one and a half seconds separating all five boats.

The final 500m was in sight. Australia still had the lead as New Zealand, who had come through the repechage, began to move on the Australians. Now Italy was charging with Great Britain and France still in the picture. New Zealand had overhauled Australia as Italy continued to charge. A photo finish. New Zealand had done it. Martyn O’Leary, Cameron Webster, Charles Rogerson, Phillip Wilson and coxswain Sam Bosworth were the new World Champions. Italy had stormed through to second and Australia had hung on to third.

Results: NZL, ITA, AUS, FRA, GBR, USA

Cameron Webster, New Zealand, Gold
“We really trusted our rhythm. We had a great middle thousand and gave it everything we had.”

Leonardo Calabrese (3), Italy, Silver
“It was a really hard race, after the start the others were leading for 1000m, we just tried to push back to get gold like last year. We are still satisfied with silver.”

John Henry Youl (s), Australia, Bronze
“It was unreal. I am so proud of the boys, we left it all on the course. “