Quad may be Joseph Sullivan's best chance

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 20/07/2013
Joseph Sullivan
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TOUGH TIMES: Joseph Sullivan has struggled as a single sculler and looks likely to be moved to the quad.

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A third boat within a year looms as a likelihood for Joseph Sullivan as Rowing New Zealand looks towards next month's world championships.

The Rowing NZ brains trust will meet to decide whether to stage trials to determine the make-up of their squad to contest the 2013 world champs in Chungju, South Korea, from August 25 to September 1.

Strong showings at the three World Cup regattas this year have ensured many places in the team don't require a second thought. 

But there's still a few under-performing boats that could have the heat placed on them at Lake Karapiro in the next week or so.

However, it's unlikely we'll see Sullivan going head-to-head with Mahe Drysdale for the men's single sculls spot.

While Drysdale took an extended break following his London Olympics triumph, Sullivan was given the role in the single scull for the latter two World Cup events at Eton Dorney and Lucerne - after being omitted from the squad that contested the first regatta in Sydney,

But the gold medalist from London in the double scull with Nathan Cohen had a horror run in the UK and Europe. 

Sullivan only made the B final at Eton Dorney, lost in the first round of the Henley Royal Regatta and then slumped into the C final at Lucerne last weekend.

Drysdale returned to training last month and in his return to racing finished third in the Holland Beker invitational regatta in Amsterdam before getting knocked out at Henley by promising Azerbaijan sculler Aleksandr Aleksandrov.

Sullivan has admitted he'd far prefer to be part of a crew than in the single, and while Drysdale will still be well short of his best come the world champs, he'd still be the obvious choice to regain a seat in the boat.

That would likely leave Sullivan pushing for a place in the men's quad which has also struggled for form this year. 

The combination of Hayden Cohen, Nathan Flannery, Fergus Fauvel and Nathan Cohen were third in the B final at Eton Dorney and 11th overall at Lucerne.

Teaming Sullivan up again with Nathan Cohen as part of the quad should produce improved results, but Sullivan may yet have to show the selection panel of Conrad Robertson, Barrie Mabbott and Dick Tonks that his form is good enough to gain a spot.

New Zealand boats won six medals - three gold, two silver and a bronze - at Lucerne after entering 15 boats as part of their long-term plan to contest all classes at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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That may mean there won't be a need for trials, yet places could still be up for grabs in the men's four, women's quad and women's eight.

- Waikato Times

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