Fours to resume Ashes rivalry

16 June 2012 / 07:55

The men's fours of Great Britain and Australia will renew their increasingly intense rivalry in the semi-finals of the Rowing World Cup in Munich on Saturday.

Both crews set new world's best times at the last World Cup regatta in Lucerne before Britain edged out the Australians in a thrilling final.

Britain are trialling a new crew formation as they look to unlock more speed ahead of the Olympics, with Pete Reed taking over in the bow seat and Alex Gregory switching to the two seat.

Friday's heat victory appeared little more than a matter of routine as Britain won comfortably from Serbia and Romania to make the semi-finals. Australia looked just as impressive in their own heat win and the two crews will meet in the first of the men's four semi-finals.

Alan Campbell, the British single sculler, will be in semi-final action later, looking to take advantage of the absence of his close friend and closer rival Mahe Drysdale.

The New Zealander injured his shoulder after he was knocked off his bike during a training run in Munich.

The men's pair of Cameron Nichol and Nathaniel Reilly O'Donnell and the double scull of Bill Lucas and Sam Townsend will both race in repechages.

The women's pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were the first to qualify for the finals on Friday, while Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins won their women's double heat in commanding fashion, a 20th consecutive victory.

Two of Britain's lightweight crews - the women's double of Sophie Hosking and Kat Copeland and the men's four of Richard Chambers, Rob Williams, Peter Chambers and Chris Bartley - came through thrilling finishes to win their heats against Danish opposition.

"We've had some positives here and there and we should remember that whilst there are some nations missing from those that raced in Lucerne, the quality and intensity of the racing is still very high here," said performance director David Tanner.