The Chicago Hounds signed Michael de Waal for the 2023 Major League Rugby season after the Dallas Jackals, who obtained his signing rights in the 2022 MLR dispersal draft, traded him to Chicago in exchange for salary cap considerations. The 27-year-old flanker is 6’3″ and 230 lbs.
Michael played 1133 minutes in 15 starts and scored one try for Austin Gilgronis in 2022. The Gilgronis Forward of the Year defensive presence was felt again, attempting 203 tackles while successfully completing 185 of them with only 18 missed attempts. de Waal added his first career try last year while adding 321 meters gained on his 55 carries (5.8 MPC) while being credited with three breakdown steals.
He played 841 minutes in 14 matches, starting 11, for the Gilgronis in 2021. The flanker attempted 132 tackles on the year, completing 119 of them and only missing 13, while adding a pair of breakdown steals to the stat sheet. He finished his second season in Austin with 58 carries for 269 meters (4.6 MPC) with a pair of line breaks and six broken tackles.
He 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 graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics with an emphasis in Actuarial Science in December 2019.
While at Lindenwood the team was been undefeated in rugby sevens his last three years while at the university. 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 before the Senior teams faced each other in a test match.