New Zealand are virtually assured of at least one Olympic gold, with news the British men's pair have conceded defeat to rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray and moved into a different boat for the Olympics.

Bond and Murray were already the hottest of favourites considering they are undefeated since teaming up in 2009.

Their run has included 14 consecutive defeats of their closest rivals Andy Triggs-Hodge and Peter Reed. Many of those wins have been by close margins but Triggs-Hodge and Reed have had the white flag raised for them and been moved into the men's coxless four at London.

Great Britain rowing men's coach Jurgen Grobler considers Triggs-Hodge and Reed his two top oarsmen and has made it clear that consolidating a genuine gold-medal opportunity takes priority over an outside chance in the pair.


The four is traditionally Britain's flagship Olympic boat, although they will come under pressure from the Australian crew, dubbed the Oarsome Foursome. Between them, Britain (2000, 2004 and 2008) and Australia (1992, 1996) have won the last five gold medals in the event.

"We have to defend what we have won,'' Grobler said.

Reed made it clear in a recent interview he didn't mind what boat he was in as long as he was in with a genuine chance of winning gold.

"Jurgen's decision will be life-changing for some people,'' Reed told "We have all got our dream of Olympic gold. I have faith in Jurgen's selection so I don't have a favourite boat, be it the pair, four or eight. I just want to be in the top boat and have the best chance of a gold medal.

"I am very confident in my own abilities, confident of what I have done in the past and where I am now. I think I have a brilliant shot of being in the top boat and when that is formed I think I have a brilliant shot of a gold medal.''

Bond and Murray, who are racing with different partners at this week's national rowing championships at Lake Karapiro, have won the last three world championships. Bond and Murray were members of the men's coxless four which won the B final at Beijing and Murray was fifth in the same boat at Athens four years previously.