World Rowing Championships: Britain’s men’s eight retain title

Britain's men's eight retained their title with a stunning row at the World Rowing Championships as Britain finished second in the medal table

The octet led from 1,000m and beat Germany by just 0.6 seconds with Poland taking the bronze.

The men's lightweight four claimed bronze in their final but the women's eight finished sixth.

Britain ended the regatta in Amsterdam with a total of 10 medals, including four gold, four silver and two bronze.

That gives the team two more than last year's tally.

Of this year's medals, six are Olympic class, which means the squad have hit the top end of their target, agreed with UK Sport, of between three and six.

GB men's eight rower Constantine Louloudis

"We talked about winning, but if I'm honest, I didn't believe we could win it until three days ago. We just came to the boil at the right time."

The victory for the men's eight was all the more remarkable because it featured five changes to the crew that won the 2013 world title.

Sunny, breezy and fast conditions greeted the rowers on the final day of the eight-day regatta, with Britain contesting three of the seven medal races.

But the rain started coming down as the men's eight race - the sport's blue-riband event - got under way at the Bosbaan rowing lake.

That didn't bother the British crew of Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell, Matt Tarrant, Will Satch, Matt Gotrel, Pete Reed, Paul Bennett, Tom Ransley, Constantine Louloudis and cox Phelan Hill.

Sitting in third at 500m, the British crew powered past favourites Germany and Poland to lead at 1,000m. They extended their advantage in the next 500m before holding off Germany on the line.

GB's men's eight celebrate winning World Rowing Championship gold

The GB men's eight had to come through the repechage to reach the final

It was an impressive performance from the eight who lost Alex Gregory, Moe Sbihi, Andrew Triggs Hodge and George Nash to the men's four, which won gold on Saturday, and have been rebuilding and trying different formations throughout the season.

They finished in bronze medal position at last month's World Cup in Lucerne, behind winners Germany and Russia, and had to come through the repechage to qualify for the final in Amsterdam.

"It was just a shock," said Louloudis. "We talked about winning, but if I'm honest, I didn't believe we could win it until three days ago. We just came to the boil at the right time."

Double Olympic champion Reed, who earlier this year questioned his rowing career because of dog allergies, added: "I can't believe it. It's been the hardest year by far for me. Everything was hard - it was a tough winter and I've been through a lot.

Double Olympic champion James Cracknell

"The men's eight had a better lane than the Germans, but they still made the most of it. They have moved on massively, especially after losing the best four in the squad to the men's four boat. They raced incredibly well, took the race from the start and held the Germans when they charged."

"I'm so pleased and it's a credit to the whole crew who came together so well in the last seven weeks."

GB head coach Jurgen Grobler said: "This year, we had illness, every time different eights racing, before we had everyone together after Lucerne - and that has been our strategy over the last seven weeks."

The lightweight four of Mark Aldred, Peter Chambers, Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley made a good start, keeping pace with leaders New Zealand to halfway of the 2,000m course.

But defending champions Denmark, who had broken the world record earlier in the week, stormed through from third into the lead as the British crew stuttered.

Denmark won the men's lightweight four, with GB finishing third

Denmark powered to victory in the lightweight four, GB came third

The Danes crossed the line in a time of five minutes 47.15 seconds with New Zealand in second, while Britain had just enough of an advantage to hold off a fast-finishing France on the line.

"Denmark have been together as a crew for a lot longer than us," said Bartley. "For us, it's been a question of building the boat from scratch this year. So there's a lot more to come."

The women's eight never really got going, the octet of Rosamund Bradbury, Louisa Reeve, Katie Greves, Donna Etiebet, Jess Eddie, Zoe Lee, Polly Swann, Caragh McMurtry and cox Zoe de Toledo in sixth and last place for the duration of the race.

The GB squad will now have three weeks off after a long season before returning to training on 24 September.

Their focus will be on making next year's squad with the 2015 World Championships in Aiguebelette, France, acting as the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifying regatta.