Blues rising star flanker Blake Gibson is set to miss a large chunk of the remainder of the Super Rugby season due to injury.
The New Zealand U20 international has impressed in the number seven jersey for Tana Umaga's franchise so far in 2016.
Viewed as a major loss, Gibson will be sidelined for much of the rest of the Super Rugby season after injuring his thumb in training this week.
Scans revealed a fracture that may require surgery and will rule the stand-out flanker out of action until after the June international window.
His replacement against the Sharks will be a first for the Blues, with Super Rugby centurion Tanerau Latimer bracketed at loose forward with Northland’s Kara Pryor.