The Austin Gilgronis has former Lindenwood University Collegiate All-American Michael de Waal returning for the second year of his three year Major League Rugby contract in 2021. The 24-year-old (25 in October) flanker is 6’3″ and 230 lbs.
Michael was expected to make his professional debut with the team in 2020, but injury rehabilitation and season cancellation postponed his debut to 2021.
Michael is from Cape Town, South Africa, and attended Pretoria Boys High School. He played rugby and also played with the Blue Bulls Noord Vaaal Under-18s.
He has attended Lindenwood University since 2017 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics with an emphasis in Actuarial Science and graduated in December 2019.
While at Lindenwood the team has been undefeated in rugby sevens the last three years. Michael was a two-time Collegiate All-American and two-time Collegiate Rugby Championship winner in 2018 and 2019. The team won three consecutive USA Rugby National College Sevens titles, and also advanced to the USA D1A Rugby XVs Final Four. He also played for the USA Collegiate All-Americans against Canada in their 23-22 win in July 2019 prior to the Senior teams facing each other in a test match.
Michael will now turn his attention to playing for and making the Austin Herd a better team in 2020.
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“I’m loving Austin, I’m fully recovered and ready to debut when my number is called,” says de Waal.
“Michael is a very intelligent person and that clearly translates on the field,” says AG’s head coach Sam Harris. “He didn’t get an opportunity to suit up last season due to injury, but Michael has a great work ethic, he’s a quick study, and has a thirst for improvement.”
In a walking boot, de Waal was constantly studying the AG’s system, lingo, and film analysis throughout his rehabilitation period.
The 24-year-old is an avid golfer and helped the AG’s to a Texas Tee Off victory over the Houston Sabercats in April. He looks to progress his golf game with the goal of qualifying for the Texas Amateur Tournament in 2021.
“I expect Michael to be one of those surprise players of the 2021 season,” says Harris.
Welcome back, Michael de Waal!