The New Zealand lightweight double sculls duo of Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride will row for gold at the world champs in the United States at the weekend.

The Kiwi crew convincingly won their semifinal in seven minutes 00.83 seconds, over two seconds clear of Poland with Denmark third. Hosts the US won the second semi in 7:00.72, with Romania and Great Britain also qualifying for Sunday morning’s (NZ time) final.

Alongside that victory, New Zealand’s men’s lightweight single sculler Matthew Dunham will chase his first world rowing championship medal after finishing second in the second semifinal of his event in Florida on Friday morning (NZ time) to make it into the six-man A final.

Matt Dunham advanced to the A final of the lightweight men's single scull.

Matt Dunham advanced to the A final of the lightweight men’s single scull.

The Kiwi was just 1.48 seconds behind Norway’s Kristoffer Brun in a time of six minutes 55.08 seconds – third-fastest overall in the two semis, with Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan – the current Olympic silver medallist in the lightweight double – winning the first semifinal in 6:55.30.

The New Zealand men’s pair of Jamie Hunter and Tom Murray also advanced with ease to their first world champs final together after finishing second in their semifinal.

Taking the place in the boat of six-times world champs and dual Olympic gold medallists Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, Hunter and Murray led for most of the way before being passed late by the Italian crew of Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino. Italy’s winning time of 6:26.36 was 1.45s quicker than the Kiwis, with clear water back to Serbia in third. Croatia, Great Britain and France qualified from the second semi.

The Kiwi men’s eight of James Lassche, Drikus Conradie, Patrick McInnes, Isaac Grainger, Shaun Kirkham, Michael Brake, Brook Robertson, Stephen Jones and coxswain Caleb Shepherd sealed their spot in the blue riband final when second in their repechage. The NZ boat finished second, 1.94s behind the winners US, as the top two advanced to the final. The big surprise in the class was traditional powerhouse Great Britain failing to make the A final, which will feature Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, US, New Zealand and Romania.

Earlier this week, the NZ women’s eight qualified directly for the A final by winning their heat in an upset over the host crew.

Good luck to all the Kiwis in the USA! Smash it!

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