Edward faces rivals one last time before Rio

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Julia Edward and Sophie Mackenzie, the current world champions, will take part in the Lightweight Double Scull. Photo/File
Julia Edward and Sophie Mackenzie, the current world champions, will take part in the Lightweight Double Scull. Photo/File

Rotorua's Julia Edward and the rest of New Zealand's Elite Rowing Team will face their opponents one final time before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in this weekend's World Rowing Cup III in Poland.

The New Zealand team will compete together in its entirety having been based in various European locations for training and racing since the final qualification regatta and second World Rowing Cup in Switzerland.

Edward and Sophie Mackenzie, the current world champions, will take part in the Lightweight Double Scull.

The pair finished third in the last World Cup event in Switzerland, with Edward saying the bronze medal had put "a bit of fire in the belly to move forward".

The men's single sculls event hosts the largest number of entries, with 30 scullers. Reigning Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale will line up against defending world champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic, and European champion Damir Martin of Croatia as well as New Zealand reserve John Storey.

The women's single sculls sees 24 entries including 2014 world champion Emma Twigg, reserve Lucy Spoors and reigning world champion, Australian Kim Brennan. This much-anticipated meet-up will be the first time Brennan and Twigg have raced each other since the 2014 World Rowing Championships.

The unbeaten Hamish Bond and Eric Murray remain firm favourites in the men's pair, but will face competition from 16 other crews including fellow teammates Axel Dickenson and Drikis Conradie, and Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell and Matthrew Tarrant of Great Britain.

New Zealand are currently sitting third in the World Rowing Cup Series, behind The Netherlands and Great Britain, having only contested one of the two regattas so far.

Racing begins on Friday at 8.50pm New Zealand time with heats. It then moves through to international finals on Saturday followed by Olympic boat class finals on Sunday .

Live coverage of finals will be available on Sky Sport 5, Sunday at 8pm.

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