As the World Rowing Championship unfolds on Lake Karapiro this week, our sports writers have highlighted five finals that are must-sees:

Men's lightweight double scull
Friday, 2.48pm

World champions vs Olympic champions. It doesn't get much better than that, and when one of the pair will have the hometown roar, the showdown should be compelling.

Britain's Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter won gold in Beijing two years ago, when Storm Uru and Peter Taylor finished seventh overall, as B final winners.

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Fast forward to the worlds last year and

God Defend New Zealand

rang out after the final. Purchase and Hunter were missing.

This year the Brits shaved New Zealand at Munich's World Cup; Uru and Taylor took the honours in Lucerne in July, with Purchase and Hunter fifth.

Others, notably the Germans, should give a good account of themselves, but this is shaping as another Brit-Kiwi square off.

Women's coxless pair
Friday, 3.03pm

Americans Erin Cafaro and Zsuzsanna Francia are defending champions, but they're no sure thing to back up from Poland last year.

New Zealand's Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh won at the Lucerne World Cup, the most recent big-ticket item on the rowing calendar, in July.

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They beat Francia and Meghan Musnicki by almost five seconds, to follow an equally convincing win in Munich in their first significant race together.

But this is the event the best set their training watch to, so expect solid challenges from Romanian, German and Chinese crews not to mention the Stars and Stripers.

Men's coxless pair
Saturday, 3.18pm

With Mahe Drysdale's prospects hurt by injury issues, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray shape up as New Zealand's best gold medal chance.

Their form has been all-conquering since teaming up after being in the coxless four at Beijing in 2008.

They are unbeaten across the board over their last 10 significant clashes with their closest rivals, Peter Reed and Andy Triggs Hodge, going back to the Munich World Cup last year.

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At the worlds in Poland last year the margin over the Brits was about 1.5s; at Munich this year it was a bare .81s; at Lucerne in July it was 2s.

The point is that there is, relatively speaking, daylight back to third.

This could be a crucial week for Reed and Triggs Hodge - part of the 2008 Olympic coxless four gold medallists - and their ambitions to hold the seats for the London Olympics in 2012. It should be a classic final.

Men's single scull
Saturday, 3.48pm

New Zealand's ace Mahe Drysdale has won the last four world titles and a host of World Cups, and has been the sculler the others have been chasing.

However his campaign has been marred by a back injury, which has significantly curtailed his training regime.

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He's too good a racer not to be in the mix, but it will be one of the great performances if he is to get the gold.

This is an event where the best regularly eyeball each other across the water.

Drysdale's good mate, Britain's Alan Campbell, is fast and fancies his prospects.

Norwegian Olaf Tufte has won the last two Olympic gold medals, and must be respected. Swede Lassi Karonen is invariably there or thereabouts.

But the big chance is Czech Republic sculler Ondrej Synek, who won all three World Cups this year. He's in form and confident. It should be a cracking race.

Men's eight
Sunday, 3.33pm

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The last race of the regatta. New Zealand aren't expected to figure at the business end. Their mission is to make the final.

The point of it is this, to paraphrase New Zealand's head coach Dick Tonks a while back: there's no sight in rowing to match six boats of eight rowers sweeping in a line down the stretch of water.

Canada are Olympic champions; the Germans won at last year's worlds in Poland, pipping the Canadians. Expect the Netherlands, British and Americans to be capable of putting out decent challenges.

It is also the traditional finale of the championships and the judgments on how well Lake Karapiro and the organising committee have handled the regatta will be coming in.