Rowing: Mahe Drysdale leads men's quad to final in dramatic race in Bulgaria

Mahe Drysdale and the New Zealand men's quad have denied the world champions to earn a crack at the medals at the Rowing World Championships in Bulgaria on Friday (NZ time).

They had to finish inside the top two to earn a spot in the final in their repechage which featured Australia, champions Lithuania, France and the US.

In a tense and tight race, the Kiwi boat finished second with a time of 5m 43.210s, 0.4s behind Australia and 0.5s ahead of Lithuania. 

This marks the first time a New Zealand men's quad will compete in an A final in 44 years, and sees World Champions Lithuania placing third and moving to the B final.

Meanwhile, the defending champion women's pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler were beaten into second by Canada in their semi-final.

Canada finishes in 6m 58.570s, with New Zealand nearly two seconds behind in 7m 00.320s

Elsewhere, Robbie Manson won his delayed quarter-final to maintain his favouritism in the single sculls.

Manson recorded the best time in his heat of 6m 49.750s, finishing ahead of Lithuania's Mindaugas Griskonis. 

German Oliver Zeidler had the best time in all the quarter-finals with an impressive 6m 49.100s

 Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle are also through to the final in the women's lightweight double sculls after also finishing second in their semi-final.

They finished less than a second behind the Netherlands, with a time of 7m 06.750s.

The men's four qualified for the C final after finishing third in their repechage, while the women's four missed out on a qualifying spot in their semi-final and they will race in the B final on Saturday.