Experienced Auckland forward Kurtis Haiu has been ruled out of the remainder of the Air NZ Cup rugby competition after cutting his arm.

Haiu, who has 49 caps at flanker and lock, suffered the injury after putting his arm through a window at his home in what the club described as a “freak accident”.

Coach Shane Howarth said it was a blow going into Friday night’s match against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua, but that he had faith in replacement Dean Budd.

Howarth is fielding an unchanged backline for another week but is looking for improvement.

“It is good to have a settled backline but I have been a bit disappointed with how the backline has gone so far,” he said.

“We have addressed the little things, like not pushing the pass too much.

“Patience has been a key word this week, and making the right decisions.”

Anthony Elisala is set to make his Auckland debut off the bench on Friday night.

Auckland are in ninth place in the competition with three wins from six matches.

Auckland team: Jamie Helleur , Joe Rokocoko , Ben Atiga (captain), Benson Stanley , David Smith , Lachie Munro , Taniela Moa , Peter Saili, Daniel Braid, Dean Budd, Jay Williams, Stan Haukinima, Charlie Faumuina, Tom McCartney, Paea Fa’anunu.

Reserves: Pauliasi Manu, Nick White, Anthony Elisala, Onosa’i Auva’a, Grayson Hart, Winston Stanley, Watisoni Lotawa.