Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders teen halfback Noah Hotham embraces first start against Queensland Reds

Still in his teens, Crusaders halfback Noah Hotham will make his first Super Rugby Pacific start, after being named to play Queensland Reds.

The 19-year-old has had a whirlwind year, from making his debut for the reigning champions just a few weeks ago to a shock loss to the Drua in Fiji.

He gifted the Drua possession with a dropped restart in the final minutes at Lautoka, which saw them subsequently earn a penalty to win the game, but the highly promising Hotham isn't sweating on the mistake and is taking everything in his stride.

"Pretty amazing," Hotham said. "If I think back to last year or the year before, I didn't think I would be in this spot, but here I am... just got to embrace it, it's a good opportunity for me.

"I learned heaps from that game. It shows you're going to make mistakes, it's just how you come back from those mistakes.

"Hopefully, I'll get a good run around this week to show people how I like to play.

"It's up to the own individual, I have to pick my own chin up and own that. I wanted to take that ball and, unfortunately, it's a game of rugby and you don't always do everything perfectly.

"You have to come back next week, train that moment again, and the pressure and everything. You just have to embrace it and it's a privilege."

Augustine Pulu in action for the All Blacks
Augustine Pulu in action for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Photosport

Hotham doesn't have to look far for veteran halfback advice, with seasoned veterans Mitchell Drumond and Willi Heinz at the Crusaders, but when asked who his inspiration was growing up, he surprises with often forgotten All Black.

"It's funny, lots of people ask me that question and the first person that comes to mind is actually Augustine Pulu," he said.

"I don't know why, I just liked how aggressive he was, the way he ran, but like I said before, it's not one person.

"I like Antoine Dupont and I like Faf de Klerk, but taking little bits of them and making my own game is what I'm trying to do."

Join Newshub at 9:35pm Friday for live updates of Crusaders v Reds Super Rugby Pacific clash