Next to putting Moses in a skiff, no one parts water in the rowing world as consistently or successfully as Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

They swept to a sixth straight men's pair world championships on Lake Aiguebelette in France last night. Only British great Sir Matthew Pinsent has won as many across two separate tenures in the boat class.

The duo were joined on the podium by Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie who defended their lightweight double sculls title. They took the lead in the third 500m and went on to win by 1.21s.

The women's pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast took silver, 3.76s behind Olympic champions Britain and will switch to the eight for their final tonight.


New Zealand has a medal tally of five following the winning performances of non-Olympic lightweight single scullers Adam Ling and Zoe McBride on Friday.

Bond and Murray got in front in the second 500m and dished out another trouncing, extending their victory margin to 6.52s over Britain, with Serbia third. They created the illusion the other crews were buoys with their blistering demonstration.

"It's a by-product of our preparation," Murray said from the pontoon. "People see the end results but we put in a lot of time and effort to get to this point. That's what we're really satisfied with. We had a good rhythm in the build up but we executed a great race on the day."

Bond and Murray extended their world record of consecutive wins at international regattas to 21, including 61 race wins. In many eyes they are already considered the greatest coxless pair of all time; a defence of their Olympic title next year at Rio would confirm it.

The odds on them completing that feat at Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon next year will be negligibly short. They were already the shortest-priced athletes across all sports to win in London. If they achieve the feat, they would join fellow rowers Dick Joyce, Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, coxswain Simon Dickie, runner Peter Snell, kayakers Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald, equestrian rider Mark Todd and shot putter Val Adams as New Zealanders to have won gold at consecutive Olympics.

The only remaining challengers to branding them the greatest pair could be Pinsent and Sir Steven Redgrave, who won consecutive Olympic golds in the pair at Barcelona and Atlanta, and four consecutive world championships from 1991-95.

Alternatively, East German twins Joerg and Bernd Landvoigt won at the Montreal and Moscow Games, supplemented by three world championships between 1975 and 1979.

Bond and Murray also won last year's non-Olympic coxed pair world championship with Caleb Shepherd, and were part of the victorious coxless four in 2007 with James Dallinger and Carl Meyer.


New Zealand qualified for 10 out of the 14 Olympic-class finals and currently has three spots secured for Rio with six further prospects tonight.

The women's quadruple scullers came sixth, missing a guaranteed Rio spot by one place. Their men's counterparts finished third in their B final, missing Games qualification by 0.05s to Ukraine.

Lightweight double scullers Peter Taylor and Hayden Cohen won the C final, (13th overall), two places outside their Olympic goal. Single sculler Fiona Bourke finished fourth in her C final (16th overall) - the top nine qualified for the Games.

Rowing New Zealand can secure Rio places for those four crews and the men's coxless four at regattas in Brandenburg and Lucerne next May.