London - Australia coach Michael Cheika has defended calling up Kurtley Beale for the Wallabies' final two matches of their European tour against Ireland and England, saying to keep the controversial back in the freezer would be "playing politics".
Beale was fined Aus$48 000 for sending an offensive text message to a female Wallabies staffer, who quit under the stress of the controversy.
The Australian Rugby Union had hoped to have Beale's Wallabies contract torn up, but the independent tribunal allowed the 25-year-old to continue his international career.
Beale was a linchpin in Cheika's Waratahs team who celebrated their maiden Super Rugby title this year, and the new Wallabies coach said the player was too good to leave out.
"If I don't select players who I think should be in the team then I'm just playing politics too and that's not what I'm interested in," Cheika told reporters on the eve of the Wallabies' Test against France in Paris.
"When you play for Australia, I imagine, it's got to be about who's the best.
"I've got to stay true to what I believe and what I believe as the coach at this level, I don't have any influence in any other part of the ARU except for coaching the team and picking it.
"If people didn't want him to play then that decision would have been made. If I'm not looking at it that way, not only am I letting down the other players because you've got to get the best players playing," he added.
Beale was suspended for the Wallabies' last two matches of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship pending the code of conduct hearing, which was held just after the team left for Europe.
Although Cheika had the option of bringing Beale back into the squad immediately, he overlooked the versatile back for the Wallabies' opening victories against the invitational Barbarians and Wales.
Cheika said Beale was surprised by the call-up.
"I don't think he was expecting to come, put it that way," the coach added. "But by the fact I hadn't sent him off on holidays he knew he was still a chance.
"I think he was excited and I think he's going to redeem himself on the playing field, get respect back on the field because he's very disappointed, as he should be with what transpired."