ROWING: Leander to turn tide

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The Independent Online


London's Tideway, never welcoming to strangers, will today present particular problems of wind and tide to the German crew, Mnster von 1882, in search of their third consecutive Head of the River title. They will be chased from the start by a powerful Leander crew composed entirely of seasoned internationals led by Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.

The German crew have two junior silver medallists in the bows but otherwise have little pedigree to suggest that they can hold out for much of the four and a half mile course against Leander, who will themselves be under siege from several fast starters in the top 10.

London Rowing Club, in third place, have a crew built around their lightweight coxless four, who hold the world record for any four, set in Paris last summer, and have four other lightweight internationals who will be on their home water and best prepared to cope with the forecast high winds.

The Searle brothers, Olympic champions in 1992, are the young blood in a Molesey boat, which will start fourth - some of the crew have more than 20 years in the sport. It looks vulnerable to attack from London University, who have the Searle's international partners, Rupert Obholzer and Tim Foster, as stern pair.