The Australian men's four has won a thrilling silver medal on the second last day of competition at the Rowing World Championships.

Will Lockwood, Alex Lloyd, Spencer Turin and Josh Dunkley-Smith led for all but the last few metres of their final, losing to the powerful Dutch quartet by less than a second.

Lockwood and Dunkley-Smith were part of the silver-medal winning foursome at the London Olympics, with Lloyd and Turin joining the boat this year.

Unlike their semi-final, when the Australians were slow into stride, the four were quick to apply pressure in the final, opening up a small lead by the middle of the race.

But in a repeat of their semi-final earlier in the week, when they lost out in a fight to the finish with the Italian crew, the Australians again fell agonisingly short, this time to the fast-finishing Dutch.

Australia will be in the hunt for more medals on Sunday, with two-time London medallist Kim Crow the best chance in the single scull.