New Zealand's dominant men's pair blew away their rivals to qualify quickest from their semifinal.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, who set a world-best time in their heat Saturday, battled a strong headwind to clock a time of 6 minutes 48.11 seconds in the first semi - nearly eight seconds faster than second-place Italy.
The British crew of George Nash and William Satch won the other heat in 6:56.46 but any other result than a Kiwi win in the final would be a major shock, with Bond and Murray not having lost in four years as a pair.
In the men's single sculls, Mahe Drysdale won his heat to progress easily to the final while the two-time reigning Olympic champion Olaf Tufte failed to qualify after finishing last in the same race.
However, it wasn't all good news with the men's quadruple scull failing to progress from their semifinal after a disappointing fourth placing.
The women's quadruple scull team - scuppered in their semifinal after breaking on oar with 500m remaining - won their B final to claim seventh place overall in the Games and provide some solace for their earlier misfortune.