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Sailing rivalry finally bursts into life
Miles Godfrey
05:04 AEST Wed Aug 8 2012

Finally, after all the talk of a waterborne Ashes and bitter sporting duels, we've got what we wanted.

Great Britain versus Australia.

Most had been expecting the fierce rivalry between the two sporting nations to erupt at the Olympic sailing regatta.

But it hasn't really worked out like that.

Until now.

Australia's Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher face off against Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell on Thursday to see who wins the men's 470 dinghy gold medal.

The Aussie world champions take a slender four-point advantage into the race and the Brits must finish two boats ahead of Page and Belcher to snatch the gold.

A smart punter would stick their cash on the Aussies - it is they who take the momentum into the final, having won both of the last two preliminary races on Tuesday.

Page and Belcher, who started the regatta nervously and looked beatable early on, said they were confident.

"We've since got the first-day jitters out of the way I've been really happy with our style of racing and our fighting spirit," Page said.

"It's great to work our way back into it because we did say we were very disappointed with how we sailed and it wasn't our normal performance."

Asked if they could beat the Australians, Patience had a simple response.

"Absolutely, yeah."

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