Barker chooses to race the red hot Russians in the semi-final at Louis Vuitton Nice

Emirates Team New Zealand has selected Synergy Russia Sailing Team to race in the semi final round of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d'Azur.

Team New Zealand and skipper Dean Barker were the best team in the rounds robin, posting a 9-1 record in 10 starts. They consistently won in the pre-start and had flawless crew work around the racecourse.

“We're a consistent team because we've been together so long as a group. That helps us through the tough times,” said Barker, the winning skipper of the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup.

The Kiwis, however, picked the hottest team at the regatta. Synergy, led by Polish skipper Karol Jablonski, enters the match on a five-race winning streak and has polished its game since starting the regatta at 0-3.

“It's hard when you get to this stage of the regatta. All the teams are strong,” Barker said. “They won't be an easy opponent and if we don't sail well they'll beat us.”

The second semi final match has TeamOrigin from Great Britain racing Azzurra of Italy. Azzurra skipper Francesco Bruni led his crew to a 1 minute defeat of Ben Ainslie and TeamOrigin in the first round.

The first crew to score 2 points will be the winner of each match.

Concurrent to the semi finals is knockout racing for 5th through 8th place. BMW Oracle Racing takes on TFS – PagesJaunes in one match and Artemis races All4One in the other.

Both matches are one race with the winners advancing to determine 5th and 6th, while the vanquished sail a one race match for 7th and 8th.

Tomorrow is an off day and racing is scheduled to resume Thursday, 19 November.

Today's anticipated final match between Team New Zealand and Synergy was cancelled in the afternoon when sufficient wind failed to materialise on the Baie des Anges.

The cancellation of the match caused a re-scoring of the leaderboard based on Appendix C10.3 of the Racing Rules of Sailing, which awards partial points for those matches sailed twice.

“The ranking was established in a way we were hoping to avoid,” said Chief Umpire Bill Edgerton. “There's no difference between the top four and bottom four, but there is a difference in their order.”

The final order placed Team New Zealand first followed by Synergy, Azzurra, TeamOrigin, BMW Oracle Racing, Artemis, All4One and TFS – PagesJaunes.

For detailed information about today's matches please visit the official event Web site,

Final Round Robin standings

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (9-1) 6 points

2. Synergy Russia Sailing Team (6-4) 4.5 points

3. Azzurra (7-4) 4.5 points

4. TeamOrigin (8-3) 4.5 points

5. BMW Oracle Racing (4-7) 3 points

6. Artemis (5-6) 3 points

7. All4One (3-8) 2 points

8. TFS – PagesJaunes (1-10) .5 points

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