Fly-half Francois Brummer's accurate boot guided the Blue Bulls to a 33-30 win over the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The pivot contributed 18 points as his team came back from a 17-6 deficit at half-time to seal a memorable win.
It was a physical encounter played at a frantic pace and the result was in doubt right up until the final whistle was blown.
The Cheetahs were dominant in the early exchanges but the Bulls came back strongly as the match progressed.
The Bloemfontein-based side started the match brightly when their full-back Hennie Daniller scored the opening try, which was converted by fly-half Sias Ebersohn.
After the visitors' forwards had taken the ball up to close to the Bulls' try-line, Ebersohn threw a long pass to Daniller who scored in the corner.
Brummer struck back with a penalty shortly afterwards, before Ebersohn added another three-pointer to extend the visitors' lead.
Midway into the half, Cheetahs loosehead prop Marcel van der Merwe put his side further in the lead when he barged over the try-line with two Bulls defenders on his back.
His try was converted by Ebersohn and with a 17-3 lead the visitors' supporters must have thought that they had a good chance of securing a vital away win.
Just before the break, Brummer added another penalty to narrow the gap and he scored the first points of the second half in the 47th minute, when the Cheetahs were penalised for infringing at a ruck.
The Blue Bulls were back in the match shortly after the break when their speedy wing Gerhard van den Heever scored in the corner after running on to a pass by Stefan Watermeyer.
Brummer converted but from the resulting kick off, Cheetahs lock Francois Uys charged down his clearance kick and regathered to score a converted try next to the upright.
Both teams were now desperate for the win, and although the two pivots exchanged penalties again, two well executed tries by Akona Ndungane and Derick Kuün brought the home side to the brink of victory.
Kuün finished off a great move after Juandré Kruger and Watermeyer combined to put him into space, and with no defenders in front of him the flanker got in for a well deserved try.
Ndungane's try came after he gathered a beautifully weighted pass from scrum-half Dustin Jinka and broke through a tackle.
The winger's try gave the Bulls the lead for the first time in the match, and although Ebersohn drew his side level shortly afterward, the home side were not to be denied their first win of the season.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, the Bulls received another penalty and Brummer made no mistake give his side the lead again. Although the Cheetahs gave their all in the dying moments, the hosts defended manfully to secure the win.
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: Van den Heever, Ndungane, Kuün
Cons: Brummer 3
Pens: Brummer 4
For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Daniller, Van der Merwe, F Uys
Cons: Ebersohn 3
Pens: Ebersohn 3
Blue Bulls:15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Stephan Dippenaar, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Gerhard van den Heever, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Dustin Jinka, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Derick Kuün, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Fudge Mabeta, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Gary Botha (c), 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements:Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Okkie Kruger, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Francois Venter.
Free State Cheetahs:15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Lappies Labuschagné, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 PW van Vuuren, 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Replacements:16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Philip Burger.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan