The Bulls outscored the visitors seven tries to five, after holding a narrow 28-25 advantage at the break.
Many pundits thought this was going to be one-way traffic for the Pretoria side, following the Kings’ terrible build-up ahead of this Currie Cup campaign and last week’s home defeat to Boland.
But the Kings came out firing and led 14-0 after six minutes when former Western Province players Mike Willemse and Burton Klaasen went over to score for the visitors.
The Bulls hit back with two tries of their own in the 13th and 19th minute respectively when their flyhalf Tian Schoeman and right wing Jamba Ulengo rounded off two quality team moves.
Kings flyhalf Kobus Marias kicked a penalty in the 24th minute to regain the lead for the visitors, but Jannes Kirsten crashed over for the home side to hand the advantage back to the Bulls.
Bulls wing Bjorn Basson and Kings fullback Johan Tromp then scored a try each before halftime to end a pulsating first half.
The Kings kept up their intensity 15 minutes into the second half, and they were rewarded when their livewire wing Siviwe Soyizwapi scored their bonus-point try in the 56th minute.
However, they couldn’t keep up the tempo, and the Bulls started to dominate just before the hour mark. Burger Odendaal and Ulengo scored a try each in the 58th and 65th minutes to give the home side some breathing space for the first time in the match.
The Kings tried to start another comeback in the 67th minute when replacement hooker Martin Bezuidenhout went over from close range, but the Bulls had the final say in the match when Joshua Stander went over in the right corner in the 71st minute.
Blue Bulls: 49 (28) – Tries: Tian Schoeman, Jamba Ulengo (2), Jannes Kirsten, Bjorn Basson, Burger Odendaal, Joshua Stander. Conversions: Schoeman (7).
Eastern Province Kings: 35 (25) – Tries: Micheal Willemse, Berton Klaasen, Johan Tromp, Siviwe Soyizwapi. Conversions: Kobus Marais (2). Penalties: Marais (2). – African News Agency