Dave Thompson reckoned a few old rowers would have had a tear in the eye as they watched New Zealand's eight make their way into Sunday's final of the blue riband event at the world championships yesterday.

Thompson is co-coach of the eight with Mark Stallard. Had he taken a look in the mirror at that moment, might have detected just a hint of something similar brewing up.

The men saw the young eight, in just their second race together, qualify for the A final with a rousing effort to finish second in their repechage behind the United States, good enough to line up alongside the heavyweights of the event.

New Zealand were third for the first 1500m before surging past Canada, who had led until that point, crossing in 5min 39.08s, just .60s behind the US.

"There's a lot of passion about the eight," Thompson said.

And what about the coach?

"You watch the singles and pairs, but when you watch an eight come down it makes your spine tingle.

"Six eights side by side, nothing better."

In their heat, the eight of Adam Tripp, Tyson Williams, Ian Seymour, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Michael Arms, Sean O'Neill, Chris Harris, stroke Ben Hammond and cox Ivan Pavich roared to the line in 5:25.40, the fastest time ever produced by a New Zealand eight.

They were clipped by a whisker by Germany for the one spot directly into the final that day, but yesterday showed that effort was no one-off.

"They just hung in, and got there in the end," Thompson said.

In his book, making the A final has been a case of major goal attained.

The final is a tough field but "they've shown they're not going to be out the back door".

"Any result they get now is going to be fantastic," he added.

The eight are just over two months into a programme aimed at getting the boat to the London Olympics in 2012.

Without question, irrespective of Sunday's outcome, they've shown they are well worth the investment.

The women's eight, also in a repechage and needing a top two finish, were squeezed out of second by the Chinese.

New Zealand's eight of Louise Trappitt, Robyn Munro, BeatrixHeaphy-Hall, Paula Twining, Jessica Loe, Kelsey Bevan, Tarsha Williams, Harriet Austin and cox Frances Turner were second at the 1000m, still second with 500m left before the Chinese eight caught them.

At the line, the Netherlands won in 6:25.32, China had 6:26.46 and New Zealand 6:28.86.

They will now contest the B final on Sunday.